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首页 » 英文短篇小说 » A Defence of Virginia » CHAPTER VII. THE ETHICAL ARGUMENT.
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§ 1. The flimsy character of the arguments based by the abolitionists on the Scriptures, betrays another than a biblical origin for their doctrines. They come primarily not from God's word, but from "philosophy falsely so called;" the abolitionists, having determined on them in advance, are only concerned with the sacred records, to thrust them aside by quibbles and evasions. But the only sure and perfect rule of right is the Bible. This, we have seen, condemns domestic slavery neither expressly nor by implication. It shows us the institution in the family of the "Father of the faithful," the "friend of God," and there recognized by God himself in the solemn sacrament of the Old Testament circumcision: We have found it expressly authorized to God's chosen people, Israel, and defended in the Decalogue itself: We see it existing throughout the ages of that dispensation, while inspired men, so far from condemning, practised it: We see that it is not removed by the fuller light of the New Testament; but on the contrary, its duties are defined, and slaveholders admitted to all the privileges of the Church: We learn, in a word, that domestic slavery existed throughout the ages of revelation, was practised continually by multitudes 210 of God's own people, was never once rebuked, but often recognized and authorized. We assert then, that, according to that infallible standard, it is lawful.

Yet, it is condemned in unmeasured terms by most of the people of Christendom, is said to be abhorrent to the political ethicks of the age, and has been reprobated by some of the fathers of our own commonwealth. What then? In the emphatic language of the book whose protection we claim: "Let God be true, but every man a liar." Nor are we much concerned to explain away this collision between human speculation and God's word. When we consider the weakness of human reason, and the mortifying history of its vagaries; when we remember how many dogmas once held for axioms are now exploded, and what monstrous crimes and follies have been upheld by the unanimous consent of philosophers, we are not afraid to adopt the teachings of the All-Wise, in preference to the deductions of blundering and purblind mortals. When the political experience of the world shall have matured and corrected the opinions of men, we have no fear but that all the truly wise, and good, and philosophical, will justify us, and will acknowledge that this simple, this decried, this abhorred expedient of inspired law-givers was, after all, best conformed to the true wants and welfare of those to whom it was applied, and wiser than any of the conceited nostrums of political quackery; that, in short, "the foolishness of God was wiser than men." Here, then, we place our feet; and our answer to reviling abolitionists and a frowning world is: Your reproach is not against us, but God. Go and convict the All-Wise of folly, the Infinite Holiness of 211 injustice. Amidst the cruel sufferings of the war which was thrust upon us for this institution, and of the violent and disastrous overthrow of our liberties; amidst the floods of obloquy which our interested persecutors have belched forth upon us, and the contemptuous neglect of the nations, our confidence is in God's countenance. He permits us to be sorely chastened for our sins; but he will not finally suffer his own honour to be reproached. He will surely rebuke in the end, the folly and impiety of our slanderers, and "bring forth our righteousness as the noonday."

The Socinian and skeptical type of all the evasions of our Scriptural argument has been already intimated. If the most profane and reckless wresting of God's word will not serve their turn, to make it speak abolitionism, then they not seldom repudiate its authority. One of their leaders, long a professed minister of the Gospel, declares, at the close of a train of tortuous sophisms, that if he were compelled to believe the Bible countenances slavery, he should be compelled to give up the Bible: thereby virtually confessing that he had never been convinced of the infallibility of that which, for thirty years, he had been pretending to preach to men as infallible. Others, more blatant and blasphemous, when compelled to admit that both the Bible and the American constitution recognized slavery, exclaimed: "Give me, then, an anti-slavery constitution, an anti-slavery Bible, and an anti-slavery God!"

Orthodox Christians have always held it as a rule perfectly settled, that a revelation which was made to yield to any and every supposed deduction of reason, would be no authoritative rule of faith at all. It is only 212 when the express word of Scripture clearly contradicts a proposition which appears to be a primary intuition of the reason, that it constitutes any difficulty in the reception of God's word. But can this prejudice against slavery claim to be such? The tests of such truths are, that they shall be seen in their own light to be true; that they shall be necessary; and that all sane human beings shall inevitably believe them, if they comprehend the terms of the statements. Obviously, abolitionism can claim none of these traits. Instead of being self-evident, we shall show that it is a mere deduction from a deceitful and baseless theory. To the mind of all former ages, it has failed to commend itself as true. All ancient nations, and most moderns, have believed the contrary. All ancient philosophers, and all Bible saints, the latter at least as conscientious and clear-headed as modern fanatics, believed slavery to be lawful. The great philosophers of the middle ages, surpassed by none in acumen, and guided by the uninspired lights of a Plato, Aristotle and Cicero, thought and wrote without suspecting the sinfulness of slavery. Thousands of Christians in the Southern States, of as enlightened and honest consciences as any in the world, lived and died masters, with no other self-reproach than that they did not more faithfully fulfil the master's duties. Since it is not a self-evident, not a necessary, not a universally received truth, that slavery is sinful, we therefore claim the authority of the Scriptures as conclusive, and boldly repudiate all logical obligation to reconcile them with the vain conclusions of human speculation. "He that reproveth God, let him answer it."

Yet we acknowledge the obligation of those who 213 undertake to expound God's word, "to commend it to every man's conscience in the sight of God," so far as the self-confidence and petulance of the depraved reason will permit. To show, therefore, that we have no fear of any legitimate human speculation, and to do what in us lies "to justify the ways of God to men," we propose in this chapter to examine the ethical argument against slavery with some care.
§ 2. Misrepresentations Cleared.

But abolitionists, by their audacious assumptions, endeavour to throw the question out of the pale of discussion: they exclaim that it needs no wire-drawn inference, it is self-evident, that a system which dehumanizes a human being, and makes his very person like a brute's body, the property of another creature; which necessitates the entailing of ignorance and vice; which ignores the marital and parental rights; which subjects the chastity of the female to the brute will of her master, and which fills Southern homes with the constant outcry of oppression, is an iniquity: and that he who attempts to cite the testimony of reason and Scripture in defence of such wrongs, offers an insult to their minds and consciences which self-respect requires them to repel at once. The malignant industry of our enemies in propagating these monstrous slanders, compels us, therefore, to pause at the outset of the discussion, to rebut them, and disabuse the minds of readers. And it is here asserted, once for all, that the popular apprehension of the slave's condition and treatment, spread throughout Europe and the North, is utterly false: that 214 it is the result of nothing less than persistent, wilful, and almost incredible lying on the part of interested accusers; and that this is recognized by every intelligent European and Northern man who has resided among us long enough truly to know the institution of slavery. The character disclosed by the Yankees in the war lately closed, has effectually taught the rest of the world to recognize the probability of our charge.

The reader is first, then, requested to recall the definition of American slavery admitted by us in the beginning of the fifth chapter. It is not an ownership of the servant's moral personality, soul, religious destinies, or conscience; but a property in his involuntary labour. And this right to his labour implies just so much controul over his person as enables his master to possess his labour. Our doctrine "hath this extent, no more." This we established beyond cavil by a reference to our laws and usages. Now, the abolitionist argues that the master's claim over the servant, if just, must imply a right to employ any means necessary to perpetuate it, such as to keep the mind of his slaves stupid and dark, because this is necessary to prevent his aspiring to his liberty. We reply that such means are not necessary in the nature of the case. To assert their necessity audaciously begs the question. If the master's claim were so essentially unrighteous, that any intelligent reflection in the slave would justify his indignation and resistance, then it might be more convenient for the master to make him an unreflecting animal. But the very subject in debate is, whether the claim is unrighteous. Suppose that the relation can be demonstrated to be right, reasonable, and beneficent 215 for the servant, (which is what we assert,) then the only effect of intelligent reflection and of knowledge and virtue combined in the slave's character, will be to render him better satisfied with his condition. So that to degrade his soul is not a necessary means for perpetuating the master's authority, and not a part of the rights of masters. And now, it is emphatically asserted that Southern masters, as a class, did not seek or desire to repress either the mental or religious culture of their servants' souls; but the contrary. It is our solemn and truthful testimony, that the nearly universal temper of masters was to promote and not to hinder it; and the intellectual and religious culture of our slaves met no other general obstacle, save that which operates among the labouring poor of all countries, their own indifference to it, and the necessities of nearly constant manual labour. If there was any exception, it was caused by the mischievous meddling of abolitionists themselves, obtruding on the servants that false doctrine so sternly condemned by St. Paul. Southern masters desired the intelligence and morality of their servants. As a class, masters and their families performed a large amount of gratuitous labour for that end; and universally met all judicious efforts for it from others with cordial approval. An intelligent Christian servant was universally recognized as being, in a pecuniary view, a better servant. Is it asserted that there is still much degrading ignorance among Southern negroes? True: but it exists not because of our system, but in spite of it. There is more besotted ignorance in the peasantry of all other countries. It is the dispassionate conviction 216 of intelligent Southerners, that our male slaves presented a better average of virtue and intelligence than the rank and file of the Federal armies by which we were overrun: and even the negro troops of our conquerors, although mostly recruited from the more idle and vicious slaves, were better than the white! The Africans of these States, three generations ago, were the most debased among pagan savages. A nation is not educated in a day. How long have the British people been in reaching their present civilization under God's providential tutelage? The South has advanced the Africans, as a whole, more rapidly than any other low savage race has ever been educated. Hence we boldly claim, that our system, instead of necessitating the ignorance and vice of its subjects, deserves the credit of a most beneficent culture.

We may here refer to the charge, that Virginian slavery condemned the Africans to mental and religious darkness, by forbidding them all access to letters; because the laws of the commonwealth forbade the teaching of them to read. Will not even the intelligent reader, after the currency of this charge, be surprised to learn that there has never been such a law upon the statute books of Virginia? To assert that there has been such a law, is an unmitigated falsehood. The only enactment which touches the subject is the following sentence, in the statute defining what were "unlawful assemblages" of negroes. "And every assemblage of negroes for the purpose of instruction in reading and writing, or in the night time for any purpose, shall be an unlawful assembly." Stat. 1830-31, p. 107. The previous section, commencing the definition of these 217 unlawful assemblies, expressly states that they are unlawful if held without the master's consent. Our courts and lawyers uniformly held that, without this feature, no assemblage of negroes, to do any thing not criminal per se, can be unlawful; because the whole spirit of Virginian laws recognized the master's authority. His slaves were subject to his government. His authorization legalized everything not intrinsically criminal. Accordingly, the uniform interpretation given to the above words was, that it was the assembling of slaves for instruction in letters by others than their master or his authorized agents, which constituted the unlawful assembly. The whole extent of the law was, to arm masters with the power to prevent the impertinent interference of others with his servants, under the pretext of literary instruction; a power which the meddlesomeness of abolitionists pointed out as most wholesome and necessary. There was no more law to prevent the master from teaching his slaves than his children; either by himself, or his authorized agent; and thousands of slaves in Virginia were taught to read by their masters, or their children and teachers. As many Virginian slaves were able to read their Bibles, and had Bibles to read, as could probably be found among the labouring poor of boasted Britain. Here let another unmitigated falsehood be exposed. Since the ill-starred overthrow of our system, the most noted religious newspaper of the North, mentioning an appropriation of Bibles by the American Bible Society for gifts to negroes of the South, applauded the measure, because, as it asserted, "the Southern States had hitherto forbidden the circulation of the Scriptures 218 among their slaves." It would be mere puling in us, to affect the belief that this amazing statement was made in ignorance; when the officials of the Society whose organ this slanderer professed to be, well know that, ever since the institution of the Bible Society, they were scarcely more familiar with any species of applications, than those of Christian masters and mistresses, and of Southern ministers, for Scriptures suitable for their servants. There has never been a law in Virginia preventing the gratuitous circulation of the Bible among slaves, or the possession or reading of it by slaves: and it is confidently believed that there has never been a single man in Virginia who desired such a law, or who would have executed it, had it defiled our statute book; unless, perchance, it was some infidel of that French school which invented abolitionism.

It is charged again, that slavery impiously and inhumanly sacrificed the immortal soul of the slave, to secure the master's pecuniary interest in him. This slander is already in part answered. We farther declare that neither our laws, nor the current temper and usage of masters, interfered with the slave's religious rights. On the contrary, they all protected and established them. The law protected the legal right of the slave to his Sabbath, forbidding the master to employ him on that day in secular labours, other than those of necessity and mercy. Instances in which slaves were prevented by their masters from attending the publick worship of God, were fully as rare among us, and as much reprobated, as similar abuses are in any other Christian country. On the contrary, the masters were almost universally more anxious that their servants should 219 attend publick worship, than the servants were to avail themselves of the privilege. There was scarcely a Christian church in the South, which had not its black communicants sitting amicably at the table beside their masters; and the whole number of these adult communicants was reported by the statistics of the churches, as not less than a half million. We can emphatically declare, that we never saw or heard of a house of worship in the South, where sittings were not provided for the blacks at the expense of the whites: and it is believed that if there was such a case, it was in a neighbourhood containing no negro population. And in nearly every case, these sittings were more ample than the blacks could be induced to fill. Nor was there any expenditure of money on ecclesiastical objects, which was more cheerfully and liberally made, than that for the religious culture of the slaves. Further, with a few exceptions they enjoyed the fullest religious liberty in the selection of their religious communions and places of worship. Masters refused them liberty to join the churches of their choice more rarely than parents in New England and Old England perpetrated that act of spiritual tyranny upon their wives and daughters. So punctilious was this respect for the spiritual liberty of the servants, that masters universally yielded to it their own denominational preferences and animosities, allowing their servants to join the sects most repugnant to their own, even in cases as extreme as that of the Protestant and Romanist. The white people of the South may consider themselves truly fortunate, if they preserve, under the despotism which now rules them, as much religious liberty as our negroes received at our hands. 220

Our system is represented as oppressive and cruel, appointing different penalties for crimes to the black man and the white man; depriving the slave of the privilege of testifying against a white in a court of justice; subjecting him to frequent and inhuman corporal punishments, and making it a crime for him to exercise the natural right of self-defence, when violently assailed by a white man. The reply is, that the penal code of Virginia was properly made different in the case of the whites and the blacks, because of the lower moral tone of the latter. Many things, which are severe penalties to the white man, would be no punishment to the negro. And the penal code for the latter was greatly milder, both in its provisions, and in the temper of its administration, than that which obtained in England over her white citizens, far into this century. The slave was not permitted to testify against a white man, and this was a restriction made proper by his low grade of truthfulness, his difference of race, and the fact that he was to so great a degree subject to the will of another. But the seeming severity of this restriction was almost wholly removed, among us, by the fact that he always had, in his master, an interested and zealous patron and guardian, in all collisions with other white men. From oppression by his own master he found his sufficient protection, usually, in affection and self-interest. But in most of the abolition States, the wretched free black was equally disqualified to testify against his white oppressor; and the vast difference against him was, that he had no white master, the legal equal of his assailant, eagerly engaged by self-interest, affection, and honourable pride, to protect him. The 221 black "citizen" was the helpless victim of the white swindler or bully. And such was usually the hypocrisy of abolitionism.

It is true again, that our law gave the master the power of corporal punishment, and required the slave to submit. So does the law of England give it to parents over children, to masters over apprentices, and to husbands over wives. Now, while we freely admit that there were in the South, instances of criminal barbarity in corporal punishments, they were very infrequent, and were sternly reprobated by publick opinion. So far were Southern plantations from being "lash-resounding dens," the whipping of adult men and women had become the rare exception. It was far less frequent and severe than the whipping of white men was, a few years ago, in the British army and navy, not probably more frequent than the whipping of wives is in the Northern States of America, and not nearly so frequent as the whipping of white young ladies now is in their State schools. The girls and boys of the plantations received the lash from masters and agents more frequently than the adults, as was necessary and right for the heedless children of mothers semi-civilized and neglectful; but universally, this punishment by their owners was far less frequent and severe than the black parents themselves inflicted. We may be permitted to state our own experience as a fair specimen of the average. The writer was for eighteen years a householder and master of slaves, having the government of a number of different slaves; and in that time he found it necessary to administer the lash to adults in four cases; and two of these were for a flagrant 222 adultery—(resulting in the permanent reform of at least one of the delinquents.) His government was regarded by his slaveholding neighbours as by no means relaxed. Indeed, Europeans and Yankees are always surprised at the leniency and tolerance of Southern masters. But to the vain modern notion, that corporal punishments are in any case barbarous and degrading, we give place not for an instant. God enjoined them, in appropriate cases, on Hebrew citizens. Solomon inculcates the rod as the most wholesome correction for children. The degradation is in the offence, and not in the punishment. This pretended exclusion of whipping is a part of that Godless humanitarianism, born of conceit and pride, which always shows itself as full of real ferocity as of affected mildness.

It is also an outrageous misrepresentation to say that our laws imposed no check upon the master's brutality in punishing, and took away the slave's natural right of self-defence. The slave whose life was assailed might exercise the natural right of self-defence, even against his own master. He did it, of course, under the same responsibility to the law, and the same risque of guilt, if it should appear that he had shed blood gratuitously in a moment of ill-justified passion, under which the white man acts. Cases actually adjudicated have clearly ascertained this principle. In the county of——,[79] a slave, in the year 1861, turned upon his master during harvest, and with his scythe inflicted a mortal wound. He was arrested by his own fellow-slaves, and when 223 questioned, replied to one, "I intended to kill him;" and to another, "I tried to cut him in two." It was proved by the defence, at his trial, (through the exclusive testimony of blacks,) that his master had, on previous days, and also on the morning of the same day, two hours previously, harassed him with barbarous and unusual punishments, by which, although none of them even in appearance assailed life, a just sense of outrage and high indignation must have been produced. The grave defect of this defence was, that the assaults of the master, although barbarous, never had implicated life, and that two or more hours had intervened, for the cooling of passion. The only immediate provocation at the time of killing was the repetition of some words of rebuke, with a comparatively slight chastisement. Such was the case. The court decided that, on the one hand, a verdict of justifiable homicide could not be given in the slave's favour, because the lawful present provocation was absent; but on the other, that it was not murder, because the barbarities which had preceded the act justified resentment. The crime was therefore ascertained as a mitigated homicide, with a milder punishment.

The laws of Virginia protected not only the life, but the limb of the slave against white persons, and even his own master. The statute against wounding, stabbing and maiming is in the following words:[80] "If any free person maliciously shoot, stab, cut or wound any person, or by any means cause him bodily injury with intent to maim, disfigure, disable or kill, he shall, except where it is otherwise provided, be punished by 224 confinement in the penitentiary not less than one, nor more than ten years. If such act be done unlawfully, but not maliciously, with the intent aforesaid, the offender shall, at the discretion of the jury if the accused be white, or of the court if he be a negro, either be confined in the penitentiary not less than one nor more than five years, or be confined in jail not exceeding twelve months, and fined not exceeding five hundred dollars." And in the chapter on trials it is added: [81] "And on any indictment for maliciously shooting, stabbing, cutting or wounding a person, or by any means causing him bodily injury with intent to kill him, the jury may find the accused not guilty of the offence charged, but guilty of maliciously doing such act with intent to maim, disfigure or disable, or of unlawfully doing it, with intent to maim, disfigure, disable or kill, such person." These are but digests of repeated older statutes of Virginia, of date 1803, 1815, and 1819. Now the General Court, the highest tribunal of appeal in criminal cases, [82]decided that the "any person," protected by these laws, included the slave; and that an indictment for the malicious stabbing of a slave could be supported under these acts. Thus, while the slave was required to accept the chastisement of his master, his life and limb were as fully protected as those of the white man.

The General Court,[83] in 1851, decided the appeal of Simeon Souther, convicted in the County of Hanover of 225 murder in the second degree, because his slave Sam had, according to evidence, died under an excessive and barbarous whipping, with other punishments, the whole evidently not intended to kill. Souther's counsel appealed from this sentence to the General Court, asking that the grade of the offence be reduced to manslaughter only, because it appeared in evidence that the punishments were not inflicted with intent to kill. The court, after reprobating Souther's conduct as a "case of atrocious and wicked cruelty," instead of reducing the grade of the sentence already ascertained, decided that it was already too low; and that it should have been declared murder in the first degree. This tribunal granted that it is lawful for the master to chastise his slave; and that the law, as expounded by the same authority, (5th Randolph, 678,) did not sustain an indictment of the master on the mere allegation of excess in chastisement, where it was not charged that any unlawful maiming or other injury ensued. Because "it is the policy of the law in respect to the relation of master and slave, and for the sake of securing proper subordination and obedience on the part of the slave, to protect the master from prosecution in all such cases." ... "But in so inflicting punishment for the sake of punishment, the owner of the slave acts at his peril; and if death ensues in consequence of such punishment, the relation of master and slave affords no ground of excuse or palliation. The principles of the common law in relation to homicide apply to his case, without qualification or exception; and according to those principles, the act of the prisoner, in the case under consideration, amounted to 226 murder. Upon this point we are unanimous." And Souther, although a man of property, and supported by the most active and able counsel, was committed to the penitentiary, (in pursuance of the original sentence, of murder in the second degree,) where he died. Such was the law and its administration in Virginia.

It may further be asserted that the laws were at least as well administered among us, against the murderers and oppressors of slaves, as against those who killed their equals. Our people had unfortunately imbibed, to some degree, the infidel and fanatical notions prevalent at the North against capital punishments; so that crimes of bloodshed met with more tolerance from publick sentiment than was proper. But when a master took the life of his servant, especially if it were done by cruel punishments, the publick scorn for his meanness and tyranny, and the general feeling of kindliness for our dependent fellow-creatures, were apt to secure a far more faithful execution of the law against him, than if he had slain his white peer for any insult or wrong.

The laws of Virginia were equally just and careful in protecting the liberty of every person not justly held to bondage. The stealing or kidnapping of any human being with the purpose of selling him into slavery, is a felony, punishable by imprisonment in the penitentiary not less than three, nor more than ten years.[84]

Any coloured person whatsoever, conceiving himself to be unlawfully detained in bondage, may apply to any 227 justice of the peace, or county or circuit superior court, to enter a suit for his freedom. There is not, within the lids of the Virginian code, another statute, so generous, so careful, so tender, so watchful, in protecting every possible right of a plaintiff, as this law enabling the slave, unjustly detained, to sue out his freedom. First, it compels every magistrate, of every grade, and every court, of every grade, to hearken to the cry of the supposed oppressed man, and to take effectual steps to secure him release, if just. Next, it instantly takes the claimant out of the hand of his nominal master, and assigns him protection and maintenance, during the pendency of his claim. Next, it provides counsel, and all costs of suit for the oppressed man, at publick expense. Next, it orders that his case shall have precedence of all other cases, before whatever court he may select, at its first sessions, irrespective of its place on the docket. And last, if the claim to freedom be found just, the court is empowered to give him damages for his detention pending the suit.[85]

Another charge against us is, that our laws abrogated the rights of marriage among slaves, authorized their capricious separation by masters, and thus consigned them to promiscuous concubinage, like that of beasts. Now, first, admitting defect in our legislation here, let us ask, how much of the blame of the continuance of this defect is chargeable upon the frantic attacks of abolitionists upon us? Every sensible man can understand, that a people so fiercely assailed in their vital rights should be occupied solely by righteous defence, 228 and should feel the time unsuited for the discussion of innovations, however needful. And next, let it be understood what the South has really done, and has not done, herein, and it will appear that an amazing misrepresentation is made of the whole case. The form of the charge usually is, that our laws deprived the slaves of all marital rights. This is, first, a monstrous perversion of the facts, in that the Africans never had any marital rights or domestic institutions to be deprived of. Have men forgotten, that in their native country there was no marriage, and no marriage law, but the negroes either lived in vagrant concubinage, or held their plurality of wives as slaves, to be either sold or slain at will? They have, at least, lost nothing, then; and the utmost that could be charged upon our legislation is, that it did not undertake to innovate upon their own native usages; that it did not force upon them marital restraints, and penalties for their breach, which the Africans were disqualified either to understand or value, which they would have regarded as a more cruel burden than their bondage. Next, our laws did not, as many seem to represent, prohibit, or delegalize the marriage of slaves; but were simply silent about them. The meaning of this silence was, to leave the whole matter to the controul of the master. It appears almost impossible for anti-slavery men to be made to apprehend the nature of the institution, as described in the words, 'domestic slavery.' Their minds, perverted with vain dreams of the powers and perfectibility of the State, cannot be made to apprehend that God has made other parties than the commonwealth and the civil magistrate, depositories of ruling power; and that this 229 arrangement is right and benevolent. Now, it is the genius of slavery, to make the family the slave's commonwealth. The family is his State. The master is his magistrate and legislator, in all save certain of the graver criminal relations, in which the commonwealth deals directly and personally with him. He is a member of municipal society only through his master, who represents him. The commonwealth knows him as only a life-long minor under the master's tutelage. The integers of which the commonwealth aggregate is made up, are not single human beings, but single families, authoritatively represented in the father and master. And this is the fundamental difference between the theory of the Bible, and that of radical democracy. The silence of our laws, then, concerning the marriage of slaves, means precisely this: that the whole subject is remitted to the master, the chief magistrate of the little integral commonwealth, the family. Obviously, therefore, the question whether our laws were defective therein, is in no sense a question between the living of the slaves in marriage or in beastly license; it is only a question whether, in the distribution of ruling functions, those of the master were not made too large and responsible, herein. And if error be admitted in this respect, it cannot be one which makes the relation of servitude sinful; for then the same crime must be fixed on all the patriarchs, notwithstanding their care in rightly ordering and preserving, as family heads, the marital relations of their children and slaves, because, forsooth, there happened to be no commonwealth law above them, as patriarchs, regulative of these marriages. This is nonsense. Where the modern patriarch, the 230 Southern master, rightly ordered and protected the marriage relations of his slaves, the silence of the commonwealth no more made their connexions concubinage, than were those of Isaac, and of Abraham's steward, Eliezer of Damascus. What magistrate or legislature, other than Abraham, issued their marriage license? Who else enforced their marriage law or defined its rights? What civic agent solemnized the ceremonial for them? And this leads to another remark: that that ceremonial is wholly unessential to the validity of marriage. Of course, where the laws enjoin it for any class, every good citizen will observe it. But the absence of such ordained ceremonial does not make lawful marriage impossible. In this sense, consensus facit nuptias. It was thus that the holiest wedlock ever seen on earth was instituted, that of Adam and Eve; thus Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, were united. The fact that our laws pronounce the unions of Quakers and of Jews, legitimate marriage, although announced with different forms, and indeed almost without form, evinces this truth.

Now, then, for the facts. These facts are, that marriage in its substance was as much recognized among our servants as among any other peasantry; that the union was uniformly instituted upon a formal written license of the two masters; that it was almost always sanctioned by a religious ceremonial conducted by a minister; that the regularity of the connexion was uniformly recognized by the master's assigning the husband and wife their own dwelling; that the moral opinion of both whites and blacks made precisely the same distinction between this connexion and the illicit 231 ones, and between the fruits of it as legitimate, and the fruits of concubinage as illegitimate, which publick opinion establishes for white persons: and that even the criminal law recognized it as a regular connexion, by extending to the black man who slew the violator of his bed in heat of blood, the same forbearance which it extends to the outraged husband. How can it be said, in the face of these facts, that marriage did not exist among them?

But, it is asked, did not the master possess power to separate this union at his will; and was not this power often exercised? They did. The power, relatively, was not often exercised; and when the separation was not justified by the crimes of the parties, it met the steady and increasing reprobation of publick opinion. The instances of tyrannical separation were, at most, far fewer than the harsh tyranny of destitution imposes on poor whites in all other countries; and the pretended philanthropy of the Yankees has, in five years, torn asunder more families than all the slave dealers of the South did in a hundred. But the power of separating was sometimes abused by masters; and the room for this abuse was just the defect in our laws, which nearly all Southern Christians deplored, and which they desired to repair. Justice requires the testimony, on the other hand, that the relaxed morals which prevailed among the Africans was not the result of their marital relations, as arranged among us, but the heritage of their paganism; that under our system the evil was decreasing; and that since their emancipation and nominal subjection to the marriage law of the whites, a flood of licentiousness, vagrant concubinage, 232 and infanticide, has broken out again among them. Clear proof this, that our abused system was better adapted to their character than the present.

Anti-slavery men often talk as though the right of slave parents to the controul and education of their children, were so indefeasible and native, that it is a natural wrong to permit the authority of the master over them to override that of the parents. This we utterly deny. We have the authority of Locke himself for saying that the parental authority is correlative to the parental obligation to preserve and train the child; that it is, therefore, not indefeasible; that if the father is clearly incompetent to or unwilling for his duty, his authority often is, and of right ought to be, transferred by society to another. When, therefore, the civilized master uses his authority against and over that of the semi-civilized, or savage parent, to train the slave child to habits of decency, industry, intelligence, and virtue, which his degraded natural guardians are unable or unwilling to inculcate, he does no crime against nature, but an act just and beneficent.

The most odious part of this charge is, that slavery made the chastity of the female slave the property of her master. We meet this with an emphatic denial. It is false. The laws of Virginia protect the virtue of the female slave by the very same statute which shields that of the white lady, even against her own master. The law of rape, until 1849, used these words:[86] "If any man do ravish a woman," &c. The act of 1849 used 233 the words:[87] "If any white person do carnally know a female of the age of twelve years or more, against her will, by force, or carnally know a female child, under that age," &c. (If the ravisher were a negro the penalty was different.) The question is, whether the words "a woman," and "a female," were intended to include coloured persons and slaves. The answer uniformly given by Virginian lawyers to this question is affirmative. They say that the terms are the most general in our statutory vocabulary. The law of 1849, just quoted, clearly implies that the terms "a female," in § 15, are inclusive of coloured females, by expressly introducing the word "white," "a white female," in § 16, when its purpose was to enact a special penalty for the forcible abduction of that class. The General Court has held that female is synonymous with woman,[88] and may be substituted for it even in an indictment. Is it asked, why the appeal is not made to judicial decisions, as conclusive authority of the true intent of the statute? We have caused a thorough search to be made by the most competent authority in Richmond; and while many indictments are found against black men for rape of white women, none exist, in the history of our jurisprudence, against white men for rape of black women. And this, not because there would have been any difficulty in making the indictment lie: but because, as the most experienced lawyers testify, the crime is unheard of on the part of white men amongst us.

It is undoubtedly true, that the moral sense of the 234 Africans on this subject is low: that many voluntary breaches of chastity occur among themselves, and some between them and whites. But the latter are far less frequent than similar sins in Philadelphia, in Boston, in London. Notwithstanding the sad inheritance of vice drawn by the Africans from their pagan ancestors, Southern slavery had elevated them so far, that illegitimate births among them had become far fewer than among the boasted white peasantry of Protestant Scotland, with all its Bibles and churches, and parochial schools. This fact can be proved by Scotch statistics. The odious and filthy charge which the abolitionists make against the Southern people and against slavery, as a system of lust, also receives a terrible reply from the returns of the American census. When illicit cohabitation takes place between the whites and the blacks, nature tells the secret with infallible accuracy, in the yellow skin of the offspring. The census of 1850 distinguished the full blacks from the mulattoes, both among the slave and free. Of the slaves, one in twelve was mulatto, taking the whole United States together. Of the slaves in Virginia the ratio of mulattoes to blacks was about the same. In South Carolina there was only one mulatto to thirty-one black slaves! The explanation is, that the latter State, being less commercial and manufacturing than Virginia, and having a system of more perfect agricultural slavery, exposed her slaves less to intercourse with immigrant and transient whites. But taking the United States as a whole, the free mulattoes were more than half as numerous as the free blacks! In several of the slave States they are more numerous; and in 235 Ohio, the stronghold of Black Republicanism, there were fourteen thousand mulattoes to eleven thousand blacks. Since the regular marriage of free blacks to the whites was as unknown at the North as at the South, these figures tell a tale as to the comparative prevalence of this infamous and unnatural form of uncleanness among the Yankees, which should forever seal their lips from reproaches of us. They also show that at the South the state of slavery has been far more favourable to chastity among the coloured people than that of freedom.

The reader probably feels by this time, that if we speak truth, then was slavery a very different thing practically from its usual picture abroad. He will perhaps feel with a shade of skepticism, that it is strange the world should have been so much mistaken. The chief explanation we offer of so strange a fact, is that trait of abolitionists, our interested and unscrupulous accusers, predicted by St. Paul: ("men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth.") The world will find them out in due time: the statements made of the events of the late war have done much to unmask them. Still another cause is that Europeans, and even Yankees, are so ignorant of Southern society. Still another explanation is, that slavery in the British colonies, from which the people of that Empire have chiefly derived their conceptions, actually was far more harsh and barbarous than in this country. The reader is emphatically cautioned that he must not judge slavery in Virginia by slavery in Jamaica or Guiana. Whether the charge of the great Paley is correct, who accounts for this difference by the greater harshness of British 236 character,[89] politeness may forbid us to decide. But the comparative fates of the Africans in the British colonies, and those in our States, tell the contrast between the humanity of our system, and the barbarity of theirs, in terms of indisputable clearness. If political science has ascertained any law, it is that the well or ill-being of a people powerfully affects their increase or decrease of numbers. The climate of the British Indies is salubrious for blacks. Yet, of the one million seven hundred thousand Africans imported into the British colonies, and their increase, only six hundred and sixty thousand remained to be emancipated in 1832. The three hundred and seventy-five thousand (the total) imported into the Southern States, had multiplied to four millions. Such is the contrast! How grinding and ruthless must have been that oppression which in the one case reduced this prolific race, in the most fertile and genial spots of earth, in the ratio of five to two! And how generous and beneficent that government which, in the Southern States, nursed them to a more than ten-fold increase, in a less hospitable and fruitful clime! Well may we demur to have the world take its conceptions of our slavery from the British.

We trust that we shall proceed, then, to the remaining discussion of the moral character of slavery, with a just understanding of what is to be defended. It is simply that system which makes the involuntary labour of the servant the property of the master, and gives the latter such controul over the former's person, as will 237 secure his possession of the labour. We conclude this section with a few words touching the admitted abuses of the system. That such existed among us, both legislative and individual, is fully admitted. There were cruel masters. Slaves were sometimes refused that which the apostle enjoined masters to give them, as "just and equal." Some cruel punishments were inflicted. A few slaves have been tortured to death. Some wives and children were wickedly torn from their husbands and parents. And our laws in some points failed to secure to the slaves that to which their humanity entitled them. But we repeat, these things prove only the sinfulness of the individual agent, and not of the system of which they are incidents. Fathers have been known to maltreat, scourge, maim and murder their children; and husbands their wives; but no one dreams that these things evince the unrighteousness of the family relations. Wife-murder is doubtless more frequent in the State of New York, than slave-murder was in Virginia. The laws of the State of Indiana concerning divorce are, in some particulars, glaring violations of God's laws. Yet no one dreams of arguing thence, that to have a wife in those States is a sin. Unless the abuse can be shown to be an essential part of the system, it proves nothing against the lawfulness of the system itself. But that none of these crimes against slaves are essential parts of slavery, is proved by the fact, which we fearlessly declare, that the vast majority of slaves in our country never experienced any of them. The unfairness of this mode of arguing cannot be better stated than in the words of Dr. Van Dyke, of New York: 238

"Their mode of arguing the question of slaveholding, by a pretended appeal to facts, is a tissue of misrepresentation from beginning to end. Let me illustrate my meaning by a parallel case. Suppose I undertake to prove the wickedness of marriage, as it exists in the city of New York. In this discussion suppose the Bible is excluded, or, at least, that it is not recognized as having exclusive jurisdiction in the decision of the question. My first appeal is to the statute law of the State.

"I show there enactments which nullify the law of God, and make divorce a marketable and cheap commodity. I collect the advertisements of your daily papers, in which lawyers offer to procure the legal separation of man and wife for a stipulated price, to say nothing, in this sacred place, of other advertisements which decency forbids me to quote. Then I turn to the records of our criminal courts, and find that every day some cruel husband beats his wife, or some unnatural parent murders his child, or some discontented wife or husband seeks the dissolution of the marriage bond. In the next place, I turn to the orphan asylums and hospitals, and show there the miserable wrecks of domestic tyranny in wives deserted and children maimed by drunken parents. In the last place, I go through our streets, and into our tenement houses, and count the thousands of ragged children, who, amid ignorance and filth, are training for the prison and gallows.

"Summing all these facts together, I put them forth as the fruits of marriage in the city of New York, and a proof that the relation itself is sinful. If I were a 239 novelist, and had written a book to illustrate this same doctrine, I would call this array of facts a 'Key.' In this key I say nothing about the sweet charities and affections that flourish in ten thousand homes, not a word about the multitude of loving-kindnesses that characterize the daily life of honest people, about the instruction and discipline that are training children at ten thousand firesides for usefulness here and glory hereafter;—all this I ignore, and quote only the statute book, the newspapers, the records of criminal courts, and the miseries of the abodes of poverty. Now, what have I done? I have not misstated or exaggerated a single fact. And yet am I not a falsifier and a slanderer of the deepest dye? Is there a virtuous woman or an honest man in this city whose cheeks would not burn with indignation at my one-sided and injurious statements? But this is just what abolitionism has done in regard to slaveholding. It has undertaken to illustrate its cardinal doctrine in works of fiction; and then, to sustain the creation of its fancy, has attempted to underpin it with an accumulation of facts. These facts are collected in precisely the way I have described. The statute books of slaveholding States are searched, and every wrong enactment collated, newspaper reports of cruelty and crime on the part of wicked masters are treasured up and classified, all the outrages that have been perpetrated 'by lewd fellows of the baser sort'—of whom there are plenty, both North and South—are eagerly seized and recorded; and this mass of vileness and filth, collected from the kennels and sewers of society, is put forth as a faithful exhibition of slaveholding. Senators in the forum, and 240 ministers in the pulpit, distil this raw material into the more reined slander 'that Southern society is essentially barbarous, and that slaveholding had its origin in hell.'"

Such are the words of one who is himself no advocate of slavery, but who is moved to utter them solely by his regard for truth. His reprobation is just. To take the exceptional abuses of any institution, and exhibit them as giving the ordinary state of society under it, is the very essence of slander.

But the enemies of the South say, that still the system of slavery is unrighteous, even though the generosity of a majority of masters prevents its oppressions from being felt, because it confers a power which is irresponsible. We reply, that this is true, although to a vastly less degree than has been charged; but it is also true of every form of authority under heaven; and it is simply impossible to place authority in any human hands at all, without some degree of this risque of irresponsible abuse. The authority of the master is no more irresponsible than that of the husband, father, or mechanic, over his wife, child, or apprentice. The father, in order to have authority, must have discretion: and he may abuse it: for he is imperfect; and against this abuse the child has no legal remedy. For this imperfection in the family law there is no help, save by abolishing all family government; a remedy fraught with ten thousand times the mischief and misery which all the occasional severities of unnatural parents have caused. All human government must have this defect, for man, who administers it, is a sinner. So that the objection of the abolitionist amounts to this: that the 241 institution of slavery is unlawful, because it is not perfect; which nothing human can be. It is so true that any grant of power whatsoever confers some irresponsibility; that the fact remains even where the rights of free citizens are most carefully guarded under republican governments. See, for example, the courts of law, which judge concerning our lives and property. We attempt to limit the abuse of power of the lower courts, by passing their decisions in review before a higher; but there must be some highest, beyond which no appeal can go. Yet the judges of that highest court are also capable of wrong and error; and if they commit them, the victim has no human help; he must submit. All that just and humane legislation can do, then, is so to adjust and limit powers, that the chances of uncompensated wrong may be as small as possible. Now we shall see that in this case of employer and labourer, such as they are in Virginia, the chances of unredressed wrong were reduced to their minimum by our system of domestic slavery. For we thereby raised the most efficient motives, those of self-interest and affection, in the stronger party, to treat the weaker equitably. If the irresponsibility of a part of the master's power proved the relation sinful, all government would be wrong.
§ 3. The Rights of Man and Slavery.

The radical objection to the righteousness of slavery in most minds is, that it violates the natural liberty and equality of man. To clear this matter, it is our purpose to test the common theory held as to the rights of nature, and to show that this ground of opposition 242 to slavery rests upon a radical and disorganizing scheme of human rights, is but Jacobinism in disguise, and involves a denial of all authority whatsoever. The popular theory of man's natural rights, of the origin of governments, and of the moral obligation of allegiance, is that which traces them to a social contract. The true origin of this theory may be found with Hobbes of Malmesbury. It owes its respectability among Englishmen, chiefly to the pious John Locke, a sort of baptized image of that atheistic philosopher;[90] and it was ardently held by the infidel democrats of the first French revolution. According to this scheme, each person is by nature an independent integer, wholly sui juris, absolutely equal to every other man, and naturally entitled, as a "Lord of Creation," to exercise his whole will. Man's natural liberty was accordingly defined as privilege to do whatever he wished. True, Locke attempts to limit this monstrous postulate by defining man's native liberty as privilege to do whatever he wished within the limits of the law of nature. But this virtually returns to the same; because he teaches that man is by nature absolutely independent, so that he must be himself the supreme, original judge, what this law of nature is. According to the doctrine of the social contract, man's natural rights are 243 confounded with this so-called natural liberty. Each man's natural right is to protect his own existence, and to possess himself of whatever will render it more happy, (Locke again adds, within the limits of natural law.) And this scheme most essentially ignored the originality of moral distinctions. Hobbes explains them as the conventional results of the rules which man's experience and convenience have dictated to him. For, the experience of the mutual violences and collisions of so many independent wills, in this supposed "state of nature," induced men, in time, to consent to the surrender of a part of this native independence, in order to secure the remainder of their rights. To do this, they are supposed to have conferred together, and to have formed a compact with each other, binding themselves to each other to submit to certain stipulated rules, which restrained a part of their natural liberty, and to obey certain men selected to govern. The power thus delegated to these hands was to be used to protect the remaining rights of all. The terms of this compact form the organic law, or constitution. Subsequent citizens entering the commonwealth by birth or immigration, are assumed to have given an assent, express or implied, to this compact. And if the question be asked, why men are morally bound to obey magistrates, who naturally are their equals and fellows, the answer of this school is: because they have voluntarily bargained to do so in entering the social compact; and they receive a quid pro quo for their accession to it. Such is the theory of the origin of government, from which the natural injustice of slavery is deduced. For, obviously, if man's obligation to civil society 244 originates in the voluntary social contract of independent integers, none can be rightfully held to a compulsory obedience, which enters into all servitude, both domestic and political.

Some liberal writers, as Blackstone, and the great Swiss publicist, Burlemaqui, are too sensible not to see that this scheme is false to the facts of the case. But they still hold, that although individual men never, in fact, existed in the independent insulation supposed, and did not actually pass into a state of society by a formal social contract, yet such a transaction must be assumed as the implied and virtual source of political power and civic obligation. To us it appears, that if the contracting never occurred in fact, but is only a theoretical fiction, it is no basis for any thing, and no source of practical rights and duties. Civil society is a universal fact; and its existence must be grounded in something actual. We object, then, to this dream of a social contract preceded by a native state of individual independence, that it is false to the facts of the case. Human beings never rightfully existed, for one moment, in this state, out of which they are supposed to have passed by their own option. God never gave them such independency. Their responsibility to him, and to the civil society under which He has placed them, is as native as they are, being ordained by God to exist from the first. Men do not choose civic obligation, but are born to it, just as the child to his filial obligation. And the simple, conclusive proof is, that if any man were to claim this native option to assume or to decline civic obligations, (in the latter case relinquishing also their advantages,) there is not a government 245 on earth, not the most liberal, that would not laugh his claim to scorn, and at once compel his allegiance. The very assumption of what this theory calls man's normal state, and the very attempt to exercise the option which, as it babbles, originated civil society, would constitute a man an outlaw, the radical enemy of civic society, and would give it a natural right, that of self-preservation, to destroy him. The scheme is not only fictitious, but absurd.

Second: We object that it is atheistic, utterly ignoring the existence of a Creator, and his relations to, and proprietorship in, man. It affects to treat men as though their existence were underived, and independent of any Supreme Being. It boldly discards God's right to determine under what obligations man shall live, and quietly contemns the great Scriptural fact that He has determined man shall live under social law.

Third: This scheme is thoroughly unphilosophical, in that whereas the science of government should be an inductive one, this theory is, and in its nature must be, purely hypothetical. No body, no history pretends to relate in a single instance, any such facts as it professes to rest upon. This Locke admits, and even claims, absurdly seeking in this mode to evade this vital objection. Hence we assert that it has no claims to be entertained in foro scienti?, even for discussion.

Fourth: If man at first possessed that natural liberty, and passed from it under the obligation of constitutions and laws by a social contract, then sundry most inconvenient and preposterous consequences must logically follow. One of these is, that when once men had established their constitution, (in other words, their compact,) 246 so long as its terms were observed by the magistrates and the minority, the majority could never righteously change it, no matter how inconvenient, or even ruinous, new circumstances might have made it, against the will of the minority or of the rulers. For when one has made a voluntary bargain, subsequent inconveniences of it do not justify its breach. The just man is one who changeth not, though he "sweareth to his own hurt." Another consequence would be, that it could never be settled what were the terms agreed upon in the original compact, and what part of existing laws were the accretions of unwarranted power, except in the case of written constitutions. Few nations have such. But a far worse consequence would be, that if the duty of allegiance originated in such compact, then any one unconstitutional act of the rulers or majority would dissolve it. For it is a covenant; but a covenant broken by one party is broken for both. Now, who believes that a single unconstitutional act of the ruler voids the whole allegiance of the aggrieved citizen? Where would be the government which would not be plunged into anarchy?

Last, all commonwealths have found it necessary to arm the magistrate with some powers, which individuals could not have conferred by a social compact, because they never possessed them. One of these is the power of life and death. No man's life is his own: it belongs to God alone. One cannot bargain away what is not his own. Besides, it is absurd to represent men as bargaining away this tremendous power for some smaller advantages and securities; because life is the most precious of all. "What shall a man accept in 247 exchange for his life?" It is of no avail to say that the community is entitled, by the law of self-preservation, to assume this power; because, on this theory, there is no community as yet. There is only a number of independent integers, sovereignly treating with each other. The community cannot assume powers before it exists! It is, if possible, still more difficult to explain, on this theory, how political societies came by the power of capital punishment, against aliens who assail their members. But all governments hold aliens living among them, and invading enemies, subject to their capital penalties. How is this? The foreigner certainly has not assented to the social compact of this society; for he claims to be alien, and to owe no allegiance. His consent, the supposed fountain of all right over him, is utterly lacking. Once more, this theory draws a broad distinction between man's civil liberty as a subject of government, and his natural liberty. The latter it defines as privilege to do whatever the man pleases, within the limits of natural law as interpreted by himself. And his natural rights are just the same. Some of these he voluntarily surrenders to society, to secure the rest. All government, therefore, is not only of the nature of restraint; it is essentially restraint upon one's rights. The advocates of the theory distinctly represent government as of the nature of a natural evil and wrong, but adopted as an expedient against the worse evil, anarchy; and therefore the obligation to obey it has no higher source than expediency. But worse yet; if there is any such thing as intrinsic morality, government is an immoral restraint, for it is a restraint upon rights. Whatever good government may 248 bring us, it is of that species which St. Paul reprobates, as "doing evil that good may come." The great Hobbes was therefore perfectly consistent, in teaching that there is no original morality in acts, and that there was at first no such thing as right, distinct from might. Morals are factitious distinctions invented under civil society for expediency. Let the thoughtful reader consider how this monstrous conclusion uproots all obligation, and order, and allegiance. No man can hold the theory of the origin of government in the social contract, unless he either holds, with Hobbes, this damnable error, or with some abolitionists, (who are thoroughly consistent here,) that all government is immoral.

But its advocates urge that it does give the correct origin of government, because they can point to specific rights, which must have been natural in the individual, but which we now find vested in the government. The instance they most cite, is that of self-defence. We accept it, and assert that it confirms our view. For, if the right of self-defence means privilege of forcible resistance to violence at the time it is offered, we utterly deny that it has been surrendered by the individual, or can be justly limited one iota by government. If it means the savage privilege of retaliation after the collision has passed away, which claims to make the angry defendant accuser, judge, jury, and executioner in his own case, we utterly deny that nature ever gave such right to any man. "Vengeance is mine: I will repay, saith the Lord." Another instance alleged, is when the citizen is restrained by society from certain acts, moral per se: as selling his corn out of the country when there is dearth. Yet the good citizen obeys. The 249 answer is, that if the restriction is not unjust, it is because there exists among the citizens such danger of suffering for corn, that the sending it out of the country would be a breach of the natural law of love and equity. Natural rights may change with circumstances, a simple truth often strangely forgotten on this subject.

Now, it is from this vicious theory of human rights, that abolitionism sucks its whole life. The whole argument is but this: no restraint of government on man's will can be righteous, which is forcible and involuntary, because the obligation of all just government originates in the option of the individuals governed, who are by nature sovereign. Before we indicate the relationship of this conclusion with its disorganizing brood of kindred, we must pause to meet a question which arises. It is this: if this pet hypothesis is relinquished, on what basis shall we defend free government? Let us see if a better foundation for its blessings cannot be found.

Political and ethical philosophers have been perpetually victims to the notion, that because theirs are natural sciences, as distinguished from revealed or theological, therefore they must banish from them all reference to God, his nature, his acts, and his will, and our relations to it. The true inference should be, only, that they must abstain from the introduction of those peculiar revealed facts, which belong to man as an object of redemption and subject of the Church of Christ. If we are not atheists, the facts that God is, that our being proceeds from his act, that we are his property, are as truly natural as man and his attributes are. They should therefore be embraced as a part of the facts of 250 the case, to be treated just as all other natural facts, save that these are the most rudimental of all. For, how can that treatment be truly scientific, which proceeds upon a partial induction of the facts of the case, leaving out the most primary? It is this illusion which has led so many moralists to attempt the discussion of the nature and origin of moral distinctions, without introducing a Creator, or a divine will. Whereas, a true science accepts God as the first fact in ethics; his attributes as the primary standard of the moral distinction; his will as the fountain of moral obligation. What wretched impotency and confusion has not this omission caused in ethical discussions!

In like manner, this impotent and infidel theory of government sets out, (as was consistent with its atheistic inventors,) without reference to the fact that man's existence, nature, and rights originated in the personal will of a Creator, without reference to original moral distinctions, or to original responsibilities to God, or to the moral quality of God's will towards man. It quietly ignores the fact that man's will, if he is the creature of an intelligent and moral personal Creator, never could, by any possibility, be his proper rule of acting. It passes over, in the insane pride of human perfectionism, the great fact that man is also a naturally depraved creature. It falsely supposes a state of nature, in which man's will made his right: whereas no being, save an eternal and self-existent God, has a right to exist in that state for one instant. But all these are facts of nature, belonging to the case, ascertainable by experience and reason. If, then, we would have a correct theory of natural rights, all of them must be embraced in our 251 view. And the proper account of the matter is simply this: Inasmuch as man did not make himself, he enters existence the subject of God. This subjection is not only of force, but also of moral right. Moral distinctions are original, being eternally expressed in God's perfections, and sovereignly revealed to the creature in his preceptive will; which is, to man, the practical source and rule of obligation. This moral obligation is therefore as native as man is. The rudimental relations to his God and his fellows imposed on man are binding on him ab initio; not at all by force of any assent of his will, but merely by the rightful force of God's will: man's virtue is to conform his will freely to God's. This will also defines his rights; by which we mean those things which other creatures are morally obliged to allow him to have and to do. Man, we repeat, enters existence with these moral relations resting upon him. And among them, are his social relations to his fellows; as is shown by the fact that he has a social nature. Now civil government is nothing more than the organization of a part of these social relations. God's will and providence, then, as truly as his word, has placed man naturally under civil government. It is as natural as man is. Again: the rule of action imposed by just government is the moral rule. That is to say, an equitable government enjoins on its members or subjects the doing of those things which are morally right, and the refraining from those things which are morally wrong.

We trace civil government, then, not to any social contract, or other human expediency, but to the will and providence of God, and to original moral obligation. If asked, whence the obligation to obey the civil magistrate 252 who, personally, is but our fellow, we answer, from God's will, which is the source and measure of duty. Man's will is wayward and depraved. Hence practical authority to enforce this rule of right upon him must be lodged in some hands; and since God does not rule statedly by miracle, it must be in human hands. Civil government is God's ordinance, and its obligations are those of original moral right. The advantage and convenience resulting illustrate and confirm, but do not originate, the obligation. This is the theory of government plainly taught by St. Paul (Rom. xiii. 1 to 7) and St. Peter (1 Ep. ii. 13 to 18.) For we are here told that the civil magistrate is God's minister, to uphold right and repress wrong; that obedience to him in this is not only of moral, but religious obligation; and that he who resists this function disobeys God.

What, then, is man's natural liberty? We answer, that it is only privilege to do whatever he has a moral right to do. Freedom to do whatever a man wills, is not a liberty, either natural or civil, but an unnatural license, a natural iniquity; man's will being naturally depraved. What then is man's civil liberty? We reply, that under an equitable government, it is the same—the privilege to do whatever he has a moral right to do. No government is perfectly equitable: none are wholly unjust. Some withhold more, some fewer, of the citizen's moral rights. None withhold them all. Hence, under the most despotic government there are some rights left, and so, some liberty. A perfectly just government would be one which would allot to each citizen freedom to do all the things which he had a moral right to do, and 253 nothing else. Such a government would not restrain the natural liberty of any citizen in any respect; each man's civil liberty would be identical with his natural. Government does not originate rights, neither can it justly take them away. But practically, it confirms, instead of impairing, our natural liberty; because it secures us in the exercise of it.

But the friends of liberal government may feel a lurking suspicion of this plain statement; because it is on a theory of pretended 'divine right' that the arguments for legitimacy, passive obedience, and despotism repose. Let us, then, pause to inquire whether the true scheme looks in that direction. And we ask first: Whether it is not much more likely that tyrannical conclusions will be drawn from those principles which ignore God, the great standard of right, and original moral distinctions, which are the basis of all rights, and so of all liberty—from principles which make man's might his natural right; rather than from our principles, which solidly found man's rights in eternal moral distinctions, and in the will of a just and benevolent God, the common Father, before whom rulers and ruled are equal? And when we turn to the history of opinion, we see that while Locke illogically deduced from this theory of the social contract a scheme of liberal government, his greater master, Hobbes, inferred that the most complete despotism was the most consistent. And both the French and the Yankee Jacobins, deriving from it an impious deification of the will of the mob which happens to be the larger, as the supreme law, have reduced their theory to practice in the most violent, ruthless, and mischievous oppressions ever 254 perpetrated on civilized communities. Let the tree be judged by its fruits.

We repeat, that the glory and strength of the Christian theory of human government and liberty is this: that it founds man's rights on eternal moral distinctions. The liberty it grants each man is privilege of doing all those things which he, with his particular character and relations, is morally entitled to do. Privilege of doing all other things it retrenches; for what would this be but sin? Now the epitome of moral distinctions is, 'Love thy neighbour as thyself.' It is the same law expressed in the "Golden Rule." The meaning of this, as we saw, is, not that we must do to our fellow all that our caprice might desire, if our positions were inverted; but what we should believe ourselves morally entitled to require of him, in that case. Here, then, is the true basis of human equality. Men are all children of a common Father, brethren of the same race, each one entitled by the same right to his own appropriate share of well-being. Hence, by a single and conclusive step, as the foundation of civil government is moral, its proper object is the good of all, governors and governed. Government is not for the behoof of rulers, but of the ruled also. Subjects were not made for kings, but kings for subjects. Indeed, rulers are themselves subjects, owing allegiance to the universal law of right, and members of the brotherhood for whose common good this law reigns. In the sublime Words of Samuel Rutherford, Rex, Lex. Neither Scriptures nor providence give to rulers any of that paternal right over the people, of which the legitimatists prate. They neither have for their subjects the father's instinctive love, nor the father's 255 natural superiority in virtue, experience, or powers. The Scriptural governments over Israel were none of them legitimatist; and that to which Paul, Peter, and Christ owned conscientious allegiance, the Empire of the C?sars, was not hereditary, and was a recent novelty. Again: while it is God's ordinance that men shall live under governments, no one form of government is ordained. "The powers that be are ordained of God." The one which, in His providence, actually subsists, is the legitimate one to the individual conscience. Still less has God indicated the individuals who shall govern as His agents. There is no divine nomination of the particular person. Hence, as government is for the common good of all, the selection of these agents belongs to the common wisdom and rectitude of the whole. And it is in this sense, (and only this,) that the Christian holds that the power of rulers is delegated from the ruled. In the higher sense, it is delegated from God, who is our true, rightful, and literal despot. The despotism of perfect, infinite rectitude is the most perfect freedom.

Now it is clear, that the several rights of different individuals in the same society must differ exceedingly, because the persons differ indefinitely in powers, knowledge, virtue, and natural relations to each other. From that very law of love and equity, whence the moral equality of men was inferred, it must also follow, that one man is not morally entitled to pursue his natural well-being at the expense of that of other men, or of the society. Each one's right must be so pursued, as not to infringe others' rights. The well-being of all is inter-connected. Hence equity, yea, a true equality itself, 256 demands a varied distribution of social privilege among the members, according to their different characters and relations. In other words, an equal government must confer very different degrees of power, and impose very different degrees of restraint, upon different classes of members. To attempt an identical and mechanical equality; to confer on those who are incompetent to use them, the same privileges granted to others who can and will use them rightfully, would be essential inequality; for it would clothe the incompetent and undeserving with power to injure the deserving and capable, without real benefit to themselves. Hence, the civic liberties of all classes in the same society ought not to be the same. Thus, of the adult members, half are females, inexorably separated by sex, strength, social relations, and natural duties. Hence different civic rights are properly given to the male, in some respects; not because it is right to empower him to consume upon the promotion of his natural well-being that of his sister, but because, on the whole, the well-being of both sexes is thus most promoted. Whether this result does follow, must be a question of fact, to be decided by experience, if not settled in advance by God's Word. There is in the society another class of members, the children, who are not only different from, but inferior to, the adults, in knowledge, strength, experience, and self-controul. Hence, it is equitable to withhold from them still other privileges of the full citizenship. Again: the amount of privileges properly conceded to the body of citizens of the first class, should vary in different commonwealths with their average character. If intelligence and virtue are, in the average, 257 more developed, the restraints of government should be fewer; if less cultivated, more numerous. Different frames of government may be best for different communities.

Once more: If the society contains a class of adult members, so deficient in virtue and intelligence that they would only abuse the fuller privileges of other citizens to their own and others' detriment, it is just to withhold so many of these privileges, and to impose so much restraint, as may be necessary for the highest equity to the whole body, inclusive of this subject class. And how much restraint is just, must be determined by facts and experience. Any degree of it is righteous, which is necessary to the righteous end. This is so obvious, that even abolitionists admit it, when they lose sight for the moment of their hobby. Of this Dr. Francis Wayland, a prominent abolitionist, gives us a striking instance in his "Moral Science." (Boston, 1838, p. 351.) He says: "Whatever concessions on the part of the individual, and whatever powers on the part of society, are necessary to the existence of society, must, by the very fact of the existence of society, be taken for granted." On p. 356, he adds: "If it be asked which of these" (hereditary, mixed, or republican) "is the preferable form of government, the answer, I think, must be conditional. The best form of government for any people, is the best that its present social and moral condition renders practicable. A people may be so entirely surrendered to the influence of passion, and so feebly influenced by moral restraints, that a government which relied upon moral restraints could not exist for a day. In this case a subordinate and inferior principle yet 258 remains,—the principle of fear: and the only resort is to a government of force, or a military despotism."

If then the necessities of order justify the subjection of a whole nation, with their labour, property, and lives, to one man, will not the same reasons justify the far milder and more benevolent authority of masters over their servants? If it appear that the Africans in these States were by recent descent pagans and barbarians, men in bodily strength and appetite, with the reason and morals of children, constitutionally prone to improvidence, so that their possession of all the franchises of a free white citizen would make them a nuisance to society and early victims to their own degradation; and if sound experience teaches that this ruin cannot be prevented without a degree of restraint approaching that proper for children; that is, by giving to a guardian the controul of their involuntary labour, and the expenditure of the fruits for the joint benefit of the parties; how can we be condemned for it? And that social welfare and order, and the happiness of the African himself, do call imperiously for this degree of controul, is confessed by all who have a practical knowledge of his character, as it is proved by the disasters resulting from his emancipation.

Every government in the world acknowledges this necessity, and applies, in some form, this remedy. The abolition government of the United States, for instance, imposed compulsory restraints and labour upon multitudes of fugitive slaves, during the war. The only difference was, that whereas our system of domestic slavery placed this power in hands most powerfully interested to employ it humanely and wisely, the anti-slavery 259 authorities placed it in hands which had every selfish inducement to abuse it to the misery of the slave, and the detriment of the publick interest. And the same government is to-day avouching every word of the above argument, by justifying itself, from a pretended political necessity, for placing the white race of the South under a much stricter bondage than that formerly borne by the negroes; a bondage which places not only labour and property, but life, at the irresponsible will of the masters. If slavery is wrong, then the abolitionists are the greatest sinners; for they have turned their own brethren into a nation of slaves.

Domestic servitude, as we define and defend it, is but civil government in one of its forms. All government is restraint; and this is but one form of restraint. As long as man is a sinner, and his will perverted, restraint is righteous. We are sick of that arrogant and profane cant, which asserts man's 'capacity for self-government' as a universal proposition; which represents human nature as so good, and democratic government as so potent, that it is a sort of miraculous panacea, sufficient to repair all the disorders of man's condition. All this ignores the great truths, that man is fallen; that his will is disordered, and therefore ought not to be his rule; that God, his owner and master, has ordained that he shall live under authority. What fruit has radical democracy ever borne, except factious oppression, anarchy, and the stern necessity for despotism?

It has been stated that each man's civil liberty, which, under a just government, is the same with his natural liberty, consists in the privilege of doing and having 260 those things to which he is morally entitled. It has been shown, that as different persons in the same society differ widely in character, powers, and relations, their specific natural rights differ also. But under all forms of government, all still have some liberty. And under a perfectly equitable form, the different classes of persons would properly have different grades of liberty. So that, even in the relation of involuntary servitude for life, if it be not abused, there is an appropriate liberty. Such a servant has privilege to do those things which he is morally entitled to do. If there are certain things which he is restrained by authority from doing, which the superior grades may do, these things are not rights to him. His inferior character, ignorance, and moral irresponsibility, have extinguished his right to do them. And this properly, because his privilege of doing them would injure others and himself, and thus violate the law of equity. If his slavery restrains him from doing more things than these, then the laws do him injustice, and mar his rightful liberty.

This degree of domestic servitude supposes that the end of the restraints it imposes is, to secure, on the whole, the best well-being of both parties to the relation, servant as well as master. Here we may notice a forensic trick practised by Dr. Wayland and the abolitionists. It is that of giving to the proposition which they wish to overthrow, such an exposition as makes it absurd in itself. Says this professed moralist, in his chapter on slavery: "Domestic slavery proceeds upon the principle that the master has a right to controul the actions, physical and intellectual, of the slave, for his own, that is, the master's individual benefit; and of 261 course, that the happiness of the master, when it comes in competition with the happiness of the slave, extinguishes in the latter the right to pursue it." If this were true, it would need no argument to show that slavery is a natural injustice. But slavery proceeds on no such principles. All men ought to know that our slave laws proved the contrary, in that they protected the slave, in many particulars, against the master's will, when it became unrighteous. All know that the publick sentiment of our people proved the contrary; in that the vast majority laboured and gave heartily for the welfare of their servants. And all men who have informed themselves know, that the grand result stamps the definition as a misrepresentation; in that domestic slavery here has conferred on the unfortunate black race more true well-being than any other form of society has ever given them. But it may be asked: Do not many masters selfishly use their slaves according to that definition? We reply: Do not many parents selfishly use their children according to that definition, neglecting their culture and true well-being, temporal and eternal, for the sake of gain? And is it not in the "thrifty" North that most of these instances of greedy, grinding parents are found? Yet who dreams of accusing the parental relation as therefore unrighteous and mischievous? This selfish tyranny is not the parental relation, but the abuse of it. So, every intelligent master defends his slaveholding, because it was, in the main, as preferable for the slave's interest as for his own. 262
§ 4. Abolitionism is Jacobinism.

The promise was made above, to unmask some of the hideous affinities of the anti-slavery theory. This is now easy. If men are by nature sovereign and independent, and mechanically equal in rights, and if allegiance is founded solely on expressed or implied consent, then not only slavery, but every involuntary restraint imposed on a person or a class not convicted of crime, and every difference of franchise among the members of civil society, is a glaring wrong. Such are the premises of abolition. Obviously, then, the only just or free government is one where all franchises are absolutely equal to all sexes and conditions, where every office is directly elective, and where no magistrate has any power not expressly assented to by the popular will. For if inequalities of franchise may be justified by differences of character and condition, of course a still wider difference of these might justify so wide an inequality of rights as that between the master and servant. Your true abolitionist is then, of course, a Red-Republican, a Jacobin. Is not this strikingly illustrated by the fact, that the first wholesale abolition in the World was that enacted for the French colonies by the frantic democrats of the 'Reign of Terror?' And this hint may serve to explain to the aristocracy of Great Britain the popularity of the authoress of 'Uncle Tom's Cabin,' and of her slanderous book, among the masses there. It was not because Britain was so exempt from cases of social hardship and oppression at home, that its people had all its virtuous sympathies at 263 leisure and unoccupied, to pour forth upon the imaginary wrongs of Uncle Tom: but it was because the Jacobinism of the abolitionist theory awakened an echo in the hearts of the lower classes, still seething with the recent upheaval of 1848. The community of agrarian sympathies made itself felt. The noble Lords and Ladies, who patronized the authoress and her book, were industriously fanning the very fires which are destined to consume their vested privileges.

Again, it follows of course from the premises of abolitionism, that hereditary monarchy, no matter how limited, is a standing injustice. A hereditary branch of the legislature is, if possible, still worse. Any such thing as a privileged class in the State is a fraud upon the others; for "all men are equal." The limitation of the right of suffrage, by property or sex, is a crime against human right; for the non-voting classes are ruled without their own consent; but consent is, according to them, the source of rightful authority. Thus are condemned at once the three branches of the hoary and honoured British constitution, kings, lords, and commons; under which men have enjoyed regulated liberty longer, and to a greater degree, than under any government on earth. And here it may be remarked that abolitionist ideas, so current in Great Britain, should have been as alien to the prevalent turns of thought of that people, as they certainly are to their welfare and the genius of their institutions. That a fantastic sciolist, intoxicated with vanity and dazzled by some glittering sophisms, should be an abolitionist, is natural. But Englishmen have ever been esteemed a solid and practical race. Their political conclusions have usually been, to 264 the credit of their good sense, historical rather than theoretical. Their temper has been rather to guard the franchises inherited from their fathers, and approved by the national experience, than to gape after visionary and abstract rights of man. But despite all this, Great Britain has also been leavened with this fell spirit. Her political managers imagined that they found in abolitionism the convenient 'apple of discord' to destroy the peace of a great rival, and they therefore fostered it. To this great injustice they have added the condemnation of the South unheard, upon the testimony of our interested accusers. And the majority of Englishmen, with a dogmatism as unjust as senseless, have refused to permit either explanation or defence, proudly wrapped in impenetrable prejudice, while an innocent and noble people were condemned and overwhelmed by baseless obloquy. But it requires no spirit of prophecy to see that Divine Providence is speedily preparing a retribution by means of their own sin, which will be tremendous enough to satisfy the resentment of any injured Southerner. Abolitionized America is manifestly to be the Nemesis of Britain, through her Jacobin ideas, or arms, or both. The principles of abolition are, as we have proved, destructive of the foundations of the British constitution. Her own statesmen have insanely taught them to her people. The masses do not, indeed, reason very continuously or consistently; yet principles once fixed in their minds always work themselves out, in time, to their logical results. The so-called "Liberal Party" of Great Britain, which draws its inspirations from the abolition democracy of America, is unveiling itself more and more, as a party of true 265 Jacobinism; and other parties have now paltered and dallied so long, that it will speedily show itself irresistible. And when the policy of England is swayed by moneyless votes, instead of capital and land, the caution and forbearance, bred by financial interests, which has thus far scarcely kept the peace between her and the United States, will speedily be changed. The two Jacobinisms, now so sweetly fraternizing over the ruin of the South, will disclose their innate and uniform aggressiveness, and will rush at each other's throats. This the immemorial rivalries and opposition of dearest interests will insure. Then will England feel, in the disintegration of her whole social fabrick by radical American ideas, and the Yankee invasions of Canada and Ireland, the folly of her own policy.

But other consequences follow from the abolitionist dogmas. "All involuntary restraint is a sin against natural rights," therefore laws which give to husbands more power over the persons and property of wives than to wives over husbands, are iniquitous, and should be abolished. The same decision must be made upon the exclusion of women, whether married or single, from suffrage, office, and the full franchises of men. There must be an end of the wife's obedience to her husband. Is it said that these subordinations are consistent, because women assent to them voluntarily, in consenting to become wives? This plea is insufficient, because the female sex is impelled to marriage by irresistible laws of their nature and condition. How tyrannous is this legislation which shuts woman up to the alternative of foregoing the satisfaction of the prime instincts of her existence; or else of submitting to a code 266 of natural injustice! As to the disabilities of single women, this plea has no pretended application. Thus the abolitionists will reason, yea, are reasoning. What was the strange prediction of prophetic wisdom, a few years ago, is now already familiar fact. Female suffrage is already introduced in one State, and will doubtless prevail as widely as abolitionism. But when God's ordinance of the family is thus uprooted, and all the appointed influences of education thus inverted; when America has had a generation of women who were politicians, instead of mothers, how fundamental must be the destruction of society, and how distant and difficult must be the remedy!

Once more: The same principles have consistently led some abolitionists to assail the parental relation itself. For although none can deny that, in helpless infancy, subjection should be the correlative of protection and maintenance, when once the young citizen has passed from the age of childhood, by what reason can the abolitionist justify his compulsory government by the father? Are not all men by nature equal?

It has been currently asserted that the premises of the abolitionists were embraced in the Declaration of Independence; so that the United States have been committed to them from the beginning. The words usually referred to are the following: "That all men are created equal: that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights: that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed," etc. If by these celebrated propositions it was 267 meant that there ever was, or could be, a government where all men enjoyed the same measure of privilege, then it is false. If it was meant that there ever was, or could be, a state of society in which all men could indulge their volitions to the same extent, and that, in every case, the full extent, it is false; for natural and unavoidable differences of persons must ever prevent this. If it were meant that all men are naturally equal, then it would be false; for men are born with different bodily and mental powers, different moral qualities, and different inheritances of rights. If it was meant that every person enters life free from just controul, it is false; for we all begin our existence rightfully subject, irrespective of our consent, to authority in family and State. Neither God nor nature makes it optional with us whether we will be subject to government. But if it be meant that all men are created equal in this sense, that all are children of a common heavenly Father, all common subjects of the law of equity expressed in the "Golden Rule," each one as truly entitled to possess the set of rights justly appropriate to him, (and by the same reason,) as any other is entitled to his set of rights; this is true, and a glorious truth. This is man's moral equality. It means that, under God, the servant is as much entitled to the rights and privileges of a justly-treated servant, as the master is to the rights of a master; that the commoner is as much entitled to the just privileges of a commoner, as a peer to those of a peer. It is the truthful boast of Englishmen, that in their land every man is equal before the law. What does this mean? Does it mean that Lord Derby has no other franchises and privileges than the 268 day-labourer? By no means. But the privileges allotted to the day-labourer by the laws are defended by the same institutions, and adjudicated by the same free principles, and made legally as inviolable, as the very different and larger privileges of Earl Derby. It is in this sense that a just and liberal government holds all men by nature equal. And if, when the Declaration of Independence says that the right of all men to their liberty is "inalienable," the proper definition of civil liberty is accepted, (that it only means privilege to do what each man, in his peculiar circumstances, has a moral right to do,) this also is universally true. But all this is perfectly consistent with differences of social condition, and station, and privilege; where characters and relations are different. As we have seen, the servant for life, who as a slave receives "those things which are just and equal," has his true liberty, though it is different from that of the free citizen; and the servant can no more be justly stripped of this his modicum of liberty, than the master of his. Last, when it is declared that "governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed," there is a sense in which it is true, and one in which it is false. In one sense, they derive their just powers from God, his law, and providence. In the other sense, that the people are not for their rulers, but the rulers for their people, the selection of particular forms of constitution and of the individuals to execute the functions, belongs to the aggregate rectitude and intelligence of the commonwealth, expressed in some way practically fair. But by "the consent of the governed," our wise fathers never intended the consent of each particular human being, 269 competent and incompetent. They intended the representative commonwealth as a body, the "populus," or aggregate corporation of that part of the human beings properly wielding the franchises of full citizens. Their proposition is general, and not particular. The men of 1776 were not vain Ideologues; they were sagacious, practical Englishmen. Thus understood, as every correct thinker does, they teach nothing against difference of privilege among the subjects of government; and consequently, nothing inconsistent with the servitude of those who are found incapable of beneficially possessing a fuller liberty.

Now, the evidence that this only was their meaning is absolutely complete. Had their proposition been that of the Jacobin abolitionist, (that just claim on men's obedience to authority is founded on the individual's consent,) they must have ordered every thing differently from their actual legislation. They could not have countenanced limited suffrage, of which nearly all of them were advocates. They must have taught female suffrage, which the most democratic of them would have pronounced madness. Not only did they retain the African race in slavery, in the face of this declaration, but they refused to adopt full democratic equality, in reconstructing their constitutions. Were these men fools? Were they ignorant of the plain meaning of their own propositions? Did they, like modern Radicals, disdain the plainest obligations of consistency? Some attempt to evade their retention of slavery, by saying that they did not defend its consistency, nor contemplate it as a permanent relation; but the other facts are unanswerable. It may be true that Jefferson, the 270 draughtsman of the Declaration, did heartily adopt his propositions in the sense of the advocates of the social contract; for it is well known that he was properly a Democrat, and not, like the other great Whigs of Virginia, only a Republican; that he had drank deeply into the spirit of Locke's political writings; and that he had already contracted a fondness for the atheistical philosophy of the French political reformers. But who can believe that George Mason, of Gunston, could fail to see the glaring inconsistency between these propositions, taken in the extravagant and radical sense now forced upon them by the abolitionists, and the constitution which he gave to the State of Virginia? According to that immortal instrument, our commonwealth was as distinctly contrasted with a levelling democracy, as any monarchy regulated by laws could possibly be. It was, indeed, a liberal, aristocratic republic. None could vote save the owners of land in fee-simple; and these were permitted to exercise their elective powers directly, only in one sole instance, the election of the General Assembly. This Assembly then exercised, without farther reference to the freeholders, all the powers of the commonwealth. The Assembly elected the Governor of the State. The Assembly appointed all judges of law, and executive officers of State. The county courts, to whom belonged the whole power of police, of local taxation, and of administration of local justice in cases beneath the grade of a felony, formed a proper aristocracy, serving for life, appointing their own clerks and sheriffs, and filling vacancies in their own numbers by a nomination to the Governor, which was always virtually imperative. Such was the government which 271 the statesmen of Virginia deliberately adopted, after signing the Declaration of Independence; than which none could have been devised by human wit, so well adapted to the character and wants of their people, and under which they exhibited the highest political stability and purity which our commonwealth has ever known. Any one who knows the British Constitution will see at a glance, that our Virginian frame of government was not the work of men led by the Utopian dream of "liberty, fraternity, and equality," but of practical statesmen, establishing for their posterity the historical rights of British freemen.

But were the language of the Declaration of Independence as decisive as anti-slavery men suppose, it would concern us exceedingly little. We regard it as no political revelation. When we formed a part of the United States, it was no article of our constitution; and still less are we responsible for it now. If it should be even convicted of embodying some error, this would be neither very surprising, nor very disgraceful to its authors. For what more probable than that men inflamed by the spirit of resistance to tyranny, and surrounded by the excitements of a revolution, in the indiscreet effort to propound a set of abstract generalities as the basis of their action, should mix the plausible errors of the advocates of freedom with the precious truth?
§ 5. Labour of another may be Property.

By confounding the master's right to the slave's labour with a pretended property in his conscience, soul, and whole personality, abolitionists have attempted 272 to represent "property in man" as a self-evident wrong. But we shall show that, in the only sense in which we hold it, property in man is recognized by the laws of every commonwealth. The father has property in his child, the master in his apprentice, the husband in his wife, the wife in her husband, and the employer in his hireling. In every one of these cases, this property is recoverable by suits at law, and admits of being transmuted for money, just as any other possession. When the husband is killed by the culpable negligence of a railroad company which had engaged to transport him for hire, the wife sues and recovers money damages. When the daughter is seduced from her father's house, he may sue for compensation, and the court will assess the value of her remaining services until her majority, at such a sum as they judge proper. How is this to be explained, save by regarding the wife as having lawful property in the industry of her husband, and the father as having property in the labour of his daughter? The labour of a minor son is often sold by the father, and thus becomes the property of the purchaser. It is of no avail to say that this labour is voluntary, and that the property originates in the virtual compact between the parties; for this is not true of the parental relation. Still another striking instance of lawful property in the involuntary labour of a fellow-man, appears in the apprenticeship of the children of paupers. Pauperism is not a crime; yet these children are, with undisputed moral propriety, indentured to householders, during their minority; and the labour thus conveyed is hired, sold, bequeathed, just as any other property. Dr. Wayland argues that there cannot 273 be ownership in man, because ownership as he defines it, consists in our "right to use the property as we please!" This definition was made to suit abolitionism, and is not the truth. May we, because we have property in our horses, use them living as we would our logs of wood, for fuel? The ethics of common sense, as that of all true science, (what Dr. W. should have known, if he had been fit to do what he assumed, teach science,) define ownership to be a right to use our property according to its nature. Thus defined, property in man presents no solecism whatever, inconsistent with righteousness.
§ 6. The Slave Received due Wages.

But it is charged that the injustice of our system is apparent in this, that it takes the slave's labour without compensation. It is simply untrue. Southern slaves received, on the average, better and more certain compensation than any labouring people of their capacity in the world. It came to them in the form of that maintenance, which the master was bound by the laws,[91] as well as his own interests, to bestow upon them. During childhood, they were reared at his expense; in sickness they received maintenance, nursing, and the same medical advice which he provided for his own children; all at his expense. When they married and had children, (which all did, single-blessedness was unknown among them,) their families were provided for by the masters without one additional toil or anxiety on their part. When they died, 274 their orphans had, in the master's estate, an unfailing provision against destitution; and if old age overtook them, they received, without labour, the same supplies and comforts which were allotted to them in their prime. How many of the sons of toil in nominally free countries would seize with rapture the offer of such wages for their labour, if the name of slavery were detached from them? To be able to secure, by the moderate labours of their active years, a certain and liberal provision for their daily wants, for their families, however large, and for sickness and old age, would be a contract so advantageous, in comparison with the hardships and uncertainties of the peasant's usual life, that few thoughtful persons of that class would hesitate, from love of novelty or dim hope of a more lucky career, to embrace it. But this is just what our laws and customs gave to our slaves, as wages of their easy labour.

But the anti-slavery man objects, that the adjustment of this compensation is made at the will of the master alone, while the slave has no power to influence it. This is precisely the same objection, in effect, with the one that the labour is involuntary. We have already shown that this circumstance alone does not make the claim on the labour unjust. And if the system makes for the slave, on the average, a better bargain than he could make for himself, where is his hardship? Is he injured by being restrained of the liberty of injuring himself? Surely, the fairness of any system should be judged by the fairness of its average results. If some masters withhold a part of the due wages, by failing to "render to their servants that which is just and 275 equal," this is their individual fault, not that of the system. St. Paul, in the passage quoted, manifestly thought that we might hold the involuntary labour of our slaves, and yet be no robbers.

But our enemies return to the charge, urging that we robbed our slaves, because we engrossed to ourselves the lion's share of the bondsman's labour. The master and his family, say they, who did no work, rolled in luxury, while the poor slaves, who did all, got only such a pittance as was needed to preserve their capacity for toil. This is false in every part. Masters and their families were not idlers. Their life was not relatively luxurious. The slave's share was not a pittance, but much more like the lion's share. But, they exclaim: "Let the masters stand aside and allow the slaves to enjoy the whole fruits of the estates they cultivate: then only will the former cease to be robbers." This astonishing folly is exposed by simply asking, whether capital and superintending skill are not entitled to wages, as well as labour? The crops of the Southern plantation were the joint fruit of the master's capital, the master's labour and skill of oversight, and the slaves' labour. If capital be denied all remuneration, the wheels of productive industry would stop everywhere, to the especial ruin of the labouring classes. Does the anti-slavery manufacturer of Lowell or Manchester think it fair, after investing his thousands in fixtures and material, and bestowing his anxious superintendence, that his operatives should claim the whole profits of the factory, leaving him not a penny, because, forsooth, he never spun or wove a thread? Away with the nonsense! Southern slaves 276 enjoyed a larger share of the proceeds of conjoined capital, superintending skill, and labour, than any operatives in the world. This is not only allowed, but virtually asserted, by anti-slavery men, when they reason that slavery is an economical evil, because the maintenance of slaves is more costly, in proportion to the value of their labour, than that of free labourers. Thus, in one place, they object that slaves receive too much compensation, and in another, that they receive too little. Nor is it true that Southern masters usually make no contribution of labour to the products of their farms. There is nowhere a population of equal wealth, more industrious than slaveholders. The master usually contributes far more to the common production than the strongest labourer on his estate; and the mistress more than the most industrious female servant, partly in the labours of superintendence, but also in actual toil.
§ 7. Effects of Slavery on Moral Character.

It is argued by abolitionists, that slavery regularly exerts many influences tending to degrade the moral character of both masters and servants. Their charge cannot be better stated than in the Words of Dr. Wayland. ["Moral Science," Personal Liberty, Ch. I., § 2.]

"Its effects must be disastrous upon the morals of both parties. By presenting objects on whom passion may be satiated without resistance, and without redress, it tends to cultivate in the master, pride, anger, cruelty, selfishness, and licentiousness. By accustoming the slave to subject his moral principles to the will 277 of another, it tends to abolish in him all moral distinctions, and thus fosters in him, lying, deceit, hypocrisy, dishonesty, and a willingness to yield himself up to minister to the appetites of his master. That in all slaveholding countries there are exceptions to this remark, and that there are principles in human nature which, in many cases, limit the effect of these tendencies, may be gladly admitted. Yet that such is the tendency of slavery as slavery, we think no reflecting person can for a moment hesitate to allow."

This is a flattering picture of us, truly! By good fortune, it is drawn by one who knows nothing of us. Just such are the current representations which Yankees have made of Southern morals, down to the notable instance of Senator Sumner's speech on the "Barbarism of Slavery." The question whether the system of slave labour deteriorates the morals of master and servant, as compared with that of free labour, may be treated as one of deduction and reasoning, or one of fact. The latter is the more trustworthy way to decide it. Dr. Wayland undertakes to settle it solely by the former. And it is manifest to the first glance, that his whole reasoning begs the question. If the very relation is wicked, if every act of authority on the master's part is a wrong, and of submission on the servant's part is a surrender of his right, then the reasoning is plausible. But let us suppose, for argument's sake, (what may be true, as it is the very point undecided,) that the relation may be right, the authority exercised lawful, and the things our servants are usually enjoined to do, innocent acts. Then, the fact that there is authority on one side and obedience 278 on the other, cannot tend, of itself, to degrade ruler and ruled: for if this were so, the parental relation itself (ordained by God as His school of morals for young human beings) would be a school of vice. But the argument is a sophism, in a yet more audacious and insulting sense. Its author argues the degradation of the slave, chiefly because his wicked master compels him by fear to do so many wicked things. But suppose the master to be a gentleman, and not a brute, so that the things he customarily compels the slave to do, are right things; where, then, is the argument? Which of the two characters masters usually bear, is the question to be solved at the conclusion of the reasoning, and, yet more, to be decided by the surer testimony of fact. But Dr. Wayland chooses to begin by presuming, à priori, that masters are generally rascals.

Wisdom would infer, on the contrary, that the habitual exercise of authority, approved as righteous by the ruler's conscience, tends to elevate his character. He who would govern others must first govern himself. Hence, we should expect to find him who is compelled to exercise a hereditary and rightful authority, a man more self-governed, thoughtful, considerate, firm, and dignified, than other men. The habit of providing constantly for a number of persons, whom he is impelled by the strongest self-interest to care for efficiently, should render a man considerate of others, and benevolent. Experience will soon teach the head of such an estate, that his relation with his dependents must be any thing else than a carnival of self-indulgence, violence, and tyranny; for such a life will speedily leave 279 him no servants to abuse. On the contrary, the very necessities of his position compel him to be, to a certain extent, provident, methodical, and equitable. Without these virtues, his estate slips rapidly away. And who, that knows human nature, can fail to see the powerful effects of the institution in developing, in the ruling caste, a higher sentiment of personal honour, chivalry, and love of liberty? This was asserted of the slaveholders of Virginia and the Carolinas by the sagacious Burke. It is very true, that if every man in the country were under the vital influence of Christian sanctification, he would not need these more human influences to elevate his character. But the wise statesman takes men as they are, not as they should be. Until the millennium, the elevating influences of social position will continue to be of great practical value. Yankeedom, at least, continues thus far to exhibit a great want of them.

But now, in considering the actual influences of slavery on the morals of the Africans, let the reader remember what they actually were before they were placed under this tutelage. He may be sure they were not what abolitionism loves to picture them, a sort of Ebony Arcadians, full of simple, pastoral purity, and of what infidels vainly prate as the dignity of native virtue. It is not slavery which has degraded them from that imaginary elevation. On the contrary, they were what God's word declares human depravity to be under the degrading effects of paganism. Let the reader see the actual and true picture, in the first chapter of Romans, and in authentic descriptions of the negro in his own jungles, such as the invaluable work of Dr. John 280 Leighton Wilson, on the tribes of the Guinea coast. And here, moreover, he will find proof, that the type of savage life brought to America originally by the slave trade, was far below that witnessed in Africa among the more noticeable tribes; because the great bulk of the slaves were either the Pariahs of that barbarous society, or the kidnapped members of the feeble fragments of bush tribes, who had nearly perished before the comparative civilization of the Mandingoes and Greboes, living but one remove above the apes around them. Now cannot common sense see the moral advantage to such a people, of subjection to the will of a race elevated above them, in morals and intelligence, to an almost measureless degree? Is it no moral advantage to be compelled to wear decent clothing, and to observe at least the outward proprieties which should obtain between the sexes? None to be taught industry, in place of pagan laziness; and methodical habits, in place of childish waste and unthrift? The destructive effects of the savage's common vices, lying, theft, drunkenness, laziness, waste, upon business and pecuniary interests, will of course prompt masters to repress those vices, if no higher motive does. Is this no gain for the poor pagan? Especially does the matter of drunkenness illustrate, in a splendid manner, the benign effects of our system on African character and happiness. Place any savage race beside a civilized and commercial people, and leave them free; and the speedy result is, that the "fire-water" consumes and depopulates them. Witness the North American Indians. But here was just such a race, in the midst of the temptation and opportunity, and yet preserved from all appreciable 281 evil from this source, and advancing in physical comfort, manners, and numbers, more rapidly than any white race in Christendom. While numbers of Africans exhibited just that weakness for ardent spirits, which is to be expected in people lately barbarians, yet so wholesome were the restraints of that regular and constant occupation enforced upon them, it was the rarest thing in the world that a farm-servant filled a drunkard's grave among us. But now the flood-gates are opened. Was not Dr. Wayland a temperance man? Southern slavery was the most efficient temperance society in the world.

Once more, was it nothing, that this race, morally inferior, should be brought into close relations to a nobler race, so that the propensity to imitation should be stimulated by constant and intimate observation, by domestic affection, by the powerful sentiment of allegiance and dependence? And above all, was it nothing that they should be brought, by the relation of servitude, under the consciences and Christian zeal of a Christian people, in circumstances which most powerfully enlisted their sense of responsibility, and gave free scope to their labour of love? Let the blessed results answer, of a nation of four millions lifted, in four generations, out of idolatrous debasement, "sitting clothed, and in their right mind;" of more than half a million adult communicants in Christian churches! And all this glorious work has been done exclusively by Southern masters; for never did foreign or Yankee abolitionist find leisure from the more congenial work of slandering the white, to teach or bless the black man in any practical way. This much-abused system 282 has thus accomplished for the Africans, amidst universal opposition and obloquy, more than all the rest of the Christian world together has accomplished for the rest of the heathen.

It is the delight of abolitionists to impute to slavery a result peculiarly corrupting as to sins of unchastity. Witness the repetitions charges by Dr. Wayland, of these sins, as contaminating both masters and slaves, in consequence of slavery. The evidence of facts has been already given as to the comparative justice of this charge. But reason itself would suggest to the least reflection, that Southern households are not the only ones where young men and female domestics are thrown together, amidst all the temptations and opportunities of privacy and domestic intimacy; that the power of corporal punishment, unlawful here for this end, is not the only power which a superior may apply to an inferior to overcome her chastity, nor the most effective. But, on the other hand, reason would suggest that the employment of free persons of the same colour and race would greatly enhance the force of those temptations; while among us, the differences of colour, race, and personal attractions, would greatly diminish them; while the very sentiment of superior caste would render the intercourse more repulsive and unnatural.

The testimony of facts, however, is the conclusive evidence on the question, whether our system is relatively more corrupting than that of free labour. In this department of the discussion, Providence has given us a refutation against the Yankees so terribly biting, as fully to satisfy any indignation which their arrogant railings may have excited in our bosoms. We were 283 placed together at the beginning of our national existence, under the same Federal government, and under similar religious and State institutions. Our union presented a common field for constant meeting and comparison. And what were the results disclosed? It has been shown that while the South, as a great section of the union, never, in one single instance, made any general or united movement to pervert Federal laws and powers for unfair local purposes; while the South ever manifested a chivalrous patriotism against any assaults upon the common rights; the North has never failed, from the first year of the government, to use it as a machine for legislative extortion and local advantage; and the North has usually played the traitor to the common cause when assailed from without, even when, as in the second war with England, the interests assailed by the foreign enemy, and generously defended by the South, were more peculiarly her own. It has appeared that when at last legislative peculation grew so foul that the publick demanded inquiry, every member of the Congress convicted of that disgraceful iniquity, was from the North, and not one from the South. If we pass to personal comparisons, the publick men of the South have shown themselves, on the federal arena, superior, in general, in the talent of command, in personal honour, in dignity, in the amenities of life, in forbearance and self-controul; while that very petulance, wilfulness, and love of arbitrary power, which, abolition philosophers infer, must be the peculiar fruits of slaveholding, were exhibited in marked contrast, by the few Northern Presidents who had the fortune to reach that high position. Compare, 284 for instance, the benign Washington, a great slaveholder, with that petty tyrant, the elder Adams; or Jefferson, Madison and Monroe with his son, (worthy son of such a sire,) John Quincy Adams; or Jefferson Davis with Abraham Lincoln; or our Lee, Johnstons, Jackson and Beauregard, with a McNeill and a Butler! So well proved are the superior courtesy, liberality, and humanity of the Southern gentleman, that the very porters on the wharves, and waiters in the hotels, of Northern cities, recognize them by these traits. It has been the fashion of a certain type of poltroons among the Yankees, who wish to indulge the anger and malignity of the bully, along with the safety and impunity of the Quaker, to represent the resort of Southerners to the code of honour, as a peculiar proof of their uncivilized condition. They exclaim triumphantly that we fight duels, while Yankees do not. Now the code of honour is certainly irrational, unchristian, and wicked. But there is another thing that is greatly more wicked; and this is the disposition to inflict upon a fellow-man the injuries and insults which that code proposes to prevent; and then cloak one's self under the cowardly pretence of a conscience which forbids to fight. The duellist sins by anger and revenge: these sneaking hypocrites sin by anger and revenge, and cowardice and lying, at once. The truly good man is forbidden by his conscience from seeking retaliation; but the same conscience equally forbids him to inflict on others the injuries which provoke retaliation. The man who wilfully injures his fellow, has therefore no right to plead conscience, for refusing satisfaction. It is not conscience, but cowardice. While, then, we mourn the 285 crimes of violent retaliation which sometimes occur at the South, the citizens of the North have occasion for a deeper blush, at the crimes of malignant slander and vituperation which their people are accustomed to launch at us from the vile hiding-place of their hypocritical puritanism.

It will be seen by every one, that the females of the ruling class must be very intimately concerned in the duties of the relation of master and servant. It is properly termed domestic slavery; and woman's functions are wholly domestic. If then, slavery is morally corrupting, Southern ladies should show the sad result very plainly. But what says fact? Its testimony is one which fills the heart of every Southern man with grateful pride; that the Southern lady is proverbially eminent for all that adorns female character, for grace, for purity and refinement, for benevolence, for generous charity, for dignified kindness and forbearance to inferiours, for chivalrous moral courage, and for devout piety.

We might safely submit the comparative soundness of Southern society to this test: that it has never generated any of those loathsome isms, which Northern soil breeds, as rankly as the slime of Egypt its spawn of frogs. While the North has her Mormons, her various sects of Communists, her Free Lovers, her Spiritualists, and a multitude of corrupt visionaries whose names and crimes are not even known among us, our soil has never proved congenial to the birth or introduction of a single one of these inventions.

But the crowning refutation of this slander against Southern morals, is presented by the great war lately concluded—a refutation whose glory repays us for long 286 years of reproach. Dispassionate spectators abroad have passed their verdict of disgust upon the combination of feebleness in the field, boasting and falsehood at home, venality and peculation towards their own treasury and the property of private citizens, with ruthless violation of all the laws of humanity. Dispassionate spectators! No; there were none such: but from ignorant and prejudiced minds stuffed with misconceptions by our interested assailants, the splendid disclosure of civic and military genius, bravery, fortitude under incredible hardships, magnanimity under unspeakable provocations, and dignity under defeat, which appeared at the South, drew a general acclaim of admiration from the whole civilized world. This war, among its many evils, has done us this good, that it has settled for this century the charge of the "barbarism of Southern slavery."

But it may not be amiss to reveal those vices which are peculiarly opposed to the Yankees' own boasts, as the inhabitants of "the land of steady habits." Our soldiers who have been prisoners of war among them, all report that their camps were Pandemoniums, for their resounding blasphemies and profanities. Nothing was more common than the capture from them of prisoners of war, too drunk to walk steadily. The mass of the letters found upon their slain, and about their captured camps, disclosed a shocking prevalence of prurient and licentious thought, both in their armies and at home. And our unfortunate servants seduced away by their armies, usually found, to their bitter cost, that lust for the African women was a far more prevalent motive, than their pretended humanity, for their liberating zeal. Such 287 was the monstrous abuse to which these poor creatures were subjected, that decent slave fathers often hid their daughters in the woods, from their pretended liberators, as from beasts of prey.

We freely avow that the line of argument which occupies this section is not to our taste; nor, as was intimated in the introduction, do we regard it as the safest means of ascertaining the moral influences of the two systems. But it has not been by our choice that it has been introduced. The slanders of our accusers have thrust it upon us. We now gladly dismiss it with this general concluding remark; that the comparative general virtue of Southern masters, and the purity of Southern Christianity, are a strong evidence that we were not living in a criminal relation, as to the African race. For sins are always gregarious. One sin, permanently established in the heart and life, always introduces its foul kindred. Sin is contagious. An unsound spot in the character ultimately taints the whole. The misguided gentleman who first yields to the passion of gaming, solely for its amusement and excitement, cannot continue a habitual gamester and a gentleman. The ingenuous youth who harbours the habit of intoxication, in due time ceases to be even ingenuous. These unhallowed passions, once established, introduce fraud, selfishness, meanness, falsehood. So, we argue, if slaveholding were a sin, its practice would surely tell upon the honour and integrity of those who continue in it. But Southern character exhibits no such general effect. 288
§ 8. Slavery and the African Slave Trade.

It is a plausible ground of opposition to slavery, to charge it with the guilt of the slave trade. It is argued that unless we are willing to justify the capture of free and innocent men, on their own soil, and their reduction from freedom to slavery, with all the enormous injustice and cruelty of the African slave trade, we must acknowledge that the title of the Southern master to his slave at this day is unrighteous; that a system which had its origin in wrong cannot become right by the lapse of time; that, if the title of the piratical slave catcher on the coast of Africa was unrighteous, he cannot sell to the purchaser any better title than he has; and that an unsound title cannot become sound by the passage of time. It need hardly be said that we abhor the injustice, cruelty, and guilt of the African slave trade. It is justly condemned by the public law of Christendom—a law which not Wilberforce, nor the British Parliament, nor British, nor Yankee Abolitionists, have the honour of originating, but the slaveholding Commonwealth of Virginia. It is condemned by the law of God. Moses placed this among the judicial statutes of the Jews: "And he that stealeth a man and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death." We fully admit, then, that the title of the original slave catcher to the captured African was most unrighteous. But few can be ignorant of the principle, that a title, originally bad, may be replaced by a good one, by transmission from hand to hand, and by lapse of time. When the property has been acquired, by the latest holder, fairly and honestly; when, in the later 289 transfers, a fair equivalent was paid for it, and the last possessor is innocent of fraud in intention and in the actual mode of his acquisition of it, more wrong would be effected by destroying his title, than by leaving the original wrong unredressed. Common sense says, that whatever may have been the original title, a new and valid one has arisen out of the circumstances of the case. If this principle be denied, half the property of the civilized world will be divorced from its present owners. All now agree that the pretext which gave ground for the conquest of William of Normandy was wicked; and however just it might have been, by the laws of nations, the conquest of the government of a country ought not to disturb the rights of individuals in private property. The Norman Conquest resulted in a complete transfer of almost all the land in England to the hands of new proprietors; and nearly all the land titles of England, at the present day, are the legal progeny of that iniquitous robbery, which transferred the territory of the kingdom from the Saxon to the Norman barons. If lapse of time, and change of hands, cannot make a bad title good, then few of the present landlords of England have any right to their estates. Upon the same principles, the tenants leasing from them have no right to their leases, and consequently they have no right to the productions of the farms they hold. If they have no right to those productions, then they cannot communicate any right to those who purchase from them; so that no man eating a loaf of English bread, or wearing a coat of English wool, could be certain that he was not consuming what was not his own. Thus extravagant and absurd are the results of such a 290 principle. Let us apply to the abolitionists their own argument, and we shall unseat the most of them from the snug homes whence they hurl denunciations at us. It is well known that their forefathers obtained the most of that territory from the poor Indians, either by fraud or violence. If lapse of time and subsequent transfers cannot make a sound title in place of an unsound one, then few of the people of the North have any right to the lands they hold; and, as honest men, they are bound to vacate them. To this even as great a man as Dr. Wayland, the philosopher of abolitionism, has attempted an answer, by saying that this right, arising from possession, only holds so long as the true, original owner, or the inheritor of his right, does not appear; and that, when he appears, the right of possession perishes at once. But he argues, the original and true claimant to the ownership of the slave is always present, in the person of the slave himself; so that the right originating in possession cannot exist for a moment. Without staying to inquire whether the presence of the inheritor of the original right necessarily puts an end to this right of possession—a proposition worse than questionable—I would simply remark, that, to represent the slave himself as the possessor of the original right, is a complete begging of the question. It assumes the very point in dispute, whether the right of the master is sound or not. And we would add, what would the courts of New England, what would Dr. Wayland say, should the feeble remnants of the New England Indians, who are yet lingering in those States, claim all the fair domains of their tribe? And what would be said in England, if the people of Saxon descent 291 should rise upon all those noble houses who boast a Norman origin, and claim their princely estates?

But we carry this just argumentum ad hominem nearer home. If the Virginian slaveholder derived from the New England or British slave-trader, no valid title to the African, then the trader had no valid title to the planter's money. What can be clearer than this? And if continued possession, with lapse of time, and transmission from hand to hand, cannot convert an unsound title into a sound one, all the wealth acquired by the African slave trade, together with all its increase, is wrongfully held by the heirs of those slave dealers: it belongs to the heirs of the planters from whom it was unjustly taken. Now it is well known that the New England States, and especially the little State of Dr. Wayland, Rhode Island, drew immense sums from the slave trade; and it was said of the merchants of Liverpool and Bristol, that the very bricks of their houses were cemented with the blood of the slave. Who can tell how much of the wealth which now freights the ships, and drives the looms of these anti-slavery marts, is the fruit of slave profits? Let the pretended owners disgorge their spoils, and restore them to the Virginian planters, to indemnify them for the worthless and fictitious title to the slaves whom they have been called upon to emancipate; in order that means may be provided to make their new liberty a real blessing to them. Thus we should have a scheme for emancipation, or colonization, which would be just in both its aspects. But will abolitionism assent to this? About as soon as death will surrender its prey. Let them cease, then, for shame's sake, to urge this sophism. 292

If this principle of a right originated by possession can be sound anywhere, it is sound in its application to our slaves. The title by which the original slave catchers held them may have been iniquitous. But these slave catchers were not citizens of the Southern colonies; these slaves were not brought to our shores by our ships. They were presented by the inhuman captors, dragged in chains from the filthy holds of the slave ships; and the alternative before the planter was, either to purchase them from him who possibly had no right to sell them, or re-consign them to fetters, disease, and death. The slaves themselves hailed the conclusion of a sale with joy, and begged the planters to become their masters, as a means of rescue from their floating prison. The planters, so far as they were concerned, paid a fair commercial equivalent for the labour of the slaves; and the right so acquired passed legally through generations from father to son, or seller to purchaser. The relation, so iniquitously begun in those cases where the persons imported were not slaves already in Africa, has been fairly and justly transferred to subsequent owners, and has resulted in blessings to the slaves. Its dissolution is more mischievous to them than to the masters. Must it not be admitted that the injustice in which the relation originated no longer attaches to it? The difference between the title of the original slave catcher, and that of the late Virginian slave owner, is as great as between the ruffian Norman freebooter, who conquered his fief at Hastings, and his law-abiding descendant, the Christian gentleman of England. 293
§ 9. The Morality of Slavery Vindicated by its Results.

To deny the mischievous effects of emancipation upon the Africans themselves, requires an amount of impudence which even abolitionists seldom possess. The experience of Britain has demonstrated, to the satisfaction of all her practical statesmen, that freedom among the whites is ruinous to the blacks. They tell us of the vast decline in the productiveness of their finest colonies, of the lapsing of fruitful plantations into the bush, of the return of the slaves, lately an industrious and useful peasantry, to savage life, and of the imperative necessity for Asiatic labour, to rescue their lands from a return to the wilderness. A comparison between the slaves of the South, and the freed negroes of the North, gives the same results. While the former were cheerful, healthy, progressive, industrious, and multiplying rapidly in numbers, the latter are declared by their white neighbours to be a social nuisance, depressed by indolence and poverty, decimated by hereditary diseases, and tending rapidly to extinction.

We argue hereupon, that it cannot be a moral duty to bestow upon the slave that which is nothing but an injury. It cannot be a sin to do to him that which uniformly and generally is found essential to his well-being in his present condition. We certainly are not required by a benevolent God to ruin him in order to do him justice! No sober and practical mind can hold such an absurdity. Hence we may know, even in advance of examination, that the ethical premises, the theory of human rights, which lead to such preposterous conclusions, 294 must be false. To illustrate this argument, the humane effects of slavery upon the slave should be more fully exhibited. This we propose to attempt in another chapter.


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