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agricultural interest so rapidly springing up in the valley of the Mississippi has long been deemed incompatible with the manufacturing interests of the seaboard States, while the tendency of all republics to despotism has not failed to manifest itself at the very first moment that the independent action of separate States came to threaten the permanency of the Union.
Still, with all the influence on society of the now disavowed principle of the sovereignty of the people, and of the long-cherished sovereignty of the States, there is no doubt but that the preservation of the Union in its integrity is one of the strongest points of American nationality. "This," said Captain M'Kinnon, "renders the maintenance of the present form of government, for some time to come, more certain than that of any government on the face of the earth!" And "no one," remarked Miss Bremer, "who has lived for any length of time in the United States, with leisure to study their life, can fail to perceive that they are within themselves possessed of a common creative principle of life which is vital in the highest degree, and that this is their civil and religious consciousness."
Pity for such anticipations that there should have been all the time a hideous sore, a sloughing ulcer at the extremities of the body politic, which was inevitably hurrying the whole to an inevitable catastrophe.
"Yonder, upon a throne made of the affections of the slave-master," wrote the Rev. T. M'Connell, "in the face of an indignant nation and of an offended God, sits slavery, horrible as a hag of hell; her face is brass, her heart is stone, her hand is iron; with that iron hand she wrings from the multiplied sufferings and labours of the hapless, hopeless children of Africa the wealth by which she is clothed in purple and fine linen, and fareth sumptuously every day; watching with unslumbering jealousy every ray that would enlighten the darkness of her kingdom, and frowning indignantly on every finger that would disturb the stability of her
The States, when united, possessed, it is estimated, 3,500,000 slaves, and 433,648 persons of colour nominally free, the latter also occupying a socially degraded position. The presence of such an immense population, alien in blood and aspect, in the midst of 350,000 of their immediate oppressors, in the Southern States has ever been an awkward and a dangerous feature in their condition. It is now a hundred-fold
Slavery exists in about fifteen States, while two more have been sought to be added--the wild steppe lands of Nebraska and Kansas, a district of country where the western Missouri pours its turbid waters along its perilous course, forming the eastern boundary of the savage western land of the Indian tribes, and extending eastward to the gigantic Mississippi, where heathendom still contends for dominion with Christianity.
"Slavery," said Lord Stanley, "cannot be permanent in the United States; the reason is, it is unjustifiable, contrary to the universally accredited and honoured rules of morality, and it must, therefore, come to an end, not only in America, but in Cuba, Brazils,-everywhere."
Every year the institution of slavery has been becoming more difficult to preserve. The slaves themselves, in spite of every effort to keep them back, are becoming more enlightened, and, therefore, more difficult to keep in subjection; even the difference in race and colour-the great bulwark of slavery-is gradually breaking down. The two races are, in
fact, being amalgamated; there are now 500,000 mulattoes in the Union, and they are increasing in a corresponding ratio from year to year. Serious as this question is, there is another still more so. Are the slaves to go on increasing in a geometrical ratio ?-500,000 on the first establishment of the government; 700,000 in 1790; 3,200,000 in 1850; 6,000,000 in 1875; 12,000,000 in 1900; and so on, doubling themselves every quarter of a century through an infinitude of years?
What is to be done with the slaves if they are set at liberty, despised and down-trodden by almost the entire nation? Are they to grow up as a powerful alien people in a confederation of States, or a forced Union, dangerous in their numbers, and doubly dangerous in their consciousness of wrong, and in the passions which might excite them to acts of vengeance?
Yet, on the other hand, what will become of them in the event of an indefinite postponement of freedom to the slave? Before the rupture of the slave States with the free States, the whole southern frontier, from Maryland to Louisiana, as the natural consequence of the violence and oppression inseparable from that unnatural and iniquitous system, indicated a social system in the last stage of decrepitude, a soil irrecoverably impoverished, and a proprietary fast verging towards bankruptcy. Already in Virginia, naturally rich and beautiful, there was a growing impoverishment, notwithstanding that large sums were realised by the individuals who reared human stock for the more southern plantations. In the partially deteriorated state of that fine old domain, and its apparent incapability of keeping pace with the more prosperous communities of the North, it may be said to approximate to the physical and moral condition which disfigured Italy in the second century.
Both public and private interests and honour have been hitherto powerless to destroy the fascination or to inflict the death-blow on the demon that has preyed on the very vitals of the republic. The curse has involved a separation of the Union into two halves, and has entailed civil war between brethren ;* yet if the united power of the commonwealth
We have already had occasion to explain the causes of secession, and the results to which such an act on the part of the slave States may possibly lead, and we must, at the risk of a little repetition, refer to them here.
The reason why the slave States seceded has been erroneously explained by writers in this country; it was not the election of President Lincoln, because he would have been unable to attack the "peculiar institution," since more than one-half the Senate are democrats, and the Supreme Court is entirely in the hands of that party. Hence the Federal States would not have dreamed of attacking slavery, for the republican party did not possess the power to prohibit the extinction of slavery in territories, repeal the slave imprisonment law, or abolish the institution in the district of Columbia; all that it could do in the matter was limited to moral working and moral pressure, for Congress has no right to interfere in a legislative way in the laws and institutions of the individual States. Moreover, President Lincoln would never have thought of assailing the South, because he belongs to the moderate faction of the republican party. What was it, then, that really led to the secession of the slave States?
It was the certainty that the election of a republican president would prove an epoch in the history of American development: it was the certainty that the predominance of the slaveholders was for ever broken, that the Federal administration was permanently torn from their hands, and the legislature and justice would soon be also taken from them; lastly, it was the consciousness that slavery must, sooner or later, cease-a certainty to which the haughty "negro barons" would
was impotent to protect it against the danger of annihilation, how much greater these dangers, whether of permanency of slavery or of its abolition, will be to a confederation of Southern States, suppose their independence to be maintained? What will free States or slave States do to avert the danger? The highest intellects in Europe are looking with breathless wonder at the sad and anomalous position of the once United States, and for the solution of this great problem.
God is pre-eminently a God of providence, even in the minutest circumstances of life directing and controlling the government of the world, and that Providence never permits the laws of nature to be outraged with impunity the free States will pay with their blood and their money for the sin of a long toleration of an iniquitous system, the slave States will probably rue in utter ruin and desolation, if not in some more terrific catastrophe, their upholding a system of crime which has entailed sorrow and suffering on others as well as on themselves.
But America is not like her native aloe, that blooms not till the end of life, and blossoms but to die. Great as has been her progress, she is still, as it were, in an infantine and transitorial state of being. Even society is in childhood-education in morals and politics may be said to have only just commenced; two centuries only have elapsed since all her dominions were a pathless wilderness.
She has still, to use the words of one of her ablest writers, many a dark, silent, untrodden forest of unknown extent, where the hardy settler has never yet awoke the slumbering echoes with the ringing blow of the axe; many a rolling prairie whose virgin soil the ploughshare has never yet disturbed; many woods and forests through which agricultural pro
never give way. Such was the reason, we believe, why the South threw down the gauntlet and rashly determined to precipitate the crisis.
If we regard slavery as the point on which the whole question turns, the slightest consideration shows us how madly the Southern States behaved in seceding. Now that war is declared, the North will not hesitate to do all in its power to root out slavery. Insurrections and desertions, fostered by the North, will very speedily ruin the South and the slaveowners. The human property will rapidly sink in price, and the Southerners will be compelled to employ all their activity and resources in defending themselves against a servile revolt. The commerce, trade, and navigation of the slave States will be utterly destroyed, and, in order to save themselves from ruin, nothing will be left to the Confederation but to abolish slavery under very unfavourable circumstances, and sue for readmission to the Union. While they belonged to the Union the slave States had none of these heavy misfortunes to apprehend; as members of the Federation they enjoy all its privileges, even the protection of their institutions against violent attacks from within and without, should their own resources not prove sufficient. If the slave States act wisely, and will yield quietly to what is inevitable, the curse of slavery may be gradually removed within the Union, without bloodshed or convulsions, or any material injury to them. We believe that President Lincoln, to stop bloodshed, would gladly accept a compromise based on the gradual extirpation of slavery, though he would not even have asked for that had not the Southern States acted so foolishly, and placed themselves in a false position. The hour in which secession was declared was also the date of the abolition of the "peculiar institution."
At the same time that we so far concur in these deductions, it is to be observed that the conquest of the Southern States by the Northern is an easier matter than their subjugation, and their subjugation is still easier than their tenure. That the well-known antagonism of the North-West to slavery, brought to a crisis by the election of President Lincoln, had also something to do with the secession, is also shown by the breaking out of hostilities on the borders of Missouri and Illinois and Iowa contemporaneously with the crossing of the Potomac in the east.
duce has never yet been hurried on the railroad car; and many a lake where the water-fowl has never yet been startled by the sails of commerce. She has still vast deserts where alternate deluge and drought are forming the basis of a future region of fertile ground; forest-hidden rivers are still waiting the hand of man to reduce them to practical uses, and which the geological processes are daily materially altering and improving. Her innate elements of strength and progress, as also the genius of her people to turn them to profitable account, are comparatively undeveloped, while her long line of insular and continental coast, broken and penetrated by gulfs and bays, which form harbours of every degree of capacity and security, from the open roadstead to the land-locked port in which the navies of the world might ride in safety, is still comparatively unoccupied.
The climate of the once United States is, throughout, splendid; it is adapted to every constitution, and seems fitted for every description of vegetation and of animal life. The geographical position and extent of what we must persist in designating as the Sovereign States, their mighty appliances of steam-boat navigation and railroad travelling, their already vast and still rapidly increasing population, placed under circumstances of such rapid intercommunication as to be equal, perhaps, to half as many more in some other kingdoms, while growing civilisation is combining many conflicting forces, are all still bringing out beneficial issues; the public mind advancing to a better understanding of the elements of national prosperity and the laws of national life, and the increasing discovery, discussion, and propagation of true principles of all kinds, preparing the way, let us hope, for a still more happy condition of the masses-all point out America as destined to play an important part in the history of the world.
And European power, in passing into her hands, goes to one people, for the hundreds of millions that must one day inhabit her vast regions will be one, having one language, one literature, one religion, one common soul. This is a unity that secession, separation, civil war, nor any amount of political divisions-the predominance of the free States or that of the slave States, the permanent antagonism of the two, the antagonism of the agricultural centre of the Mississippi with the commercial and industrial centre of New England, the seclusion of religious fanaticism on the borders of the Great Salt Lake, the rising up of new generations of Highlanders in the fertile plains and valleys of the Rocky Mountains, or the progressive march of prosperity and power on the Pacific-cannot affect and cannot destroy. That a people thus situated, no matter under what form of government they live, or what number of political divisions they may be led to constitute, must exert a dominant influence on the world, is unavoidable. Their facilities for the acquisition of wealth, for intercourse with all parts of the globe, and the restless enterprise of her population, are all so many means by which America will be brought to influence the character and the destinies of other sections of the world."
Thus, although the disunited States may no longer be so formidable an enemy to England as the once United States were, still, if higher principles did not guide us, mere interests should dictate the necessity of promoting, by every practicable expedient, the development of the resources of all separate Confederate or Federal States, amid unbroken peace, amity, and intercourse. The value of our imports from America have
been about thirty millions; while our exports somewhat exceed twentytwo millions. This trade far surpasses that existing separately with British India and Australia; and it is even more extensive than that of England with the whole continent of Europe. The imports of large cotton alone in 1854 amounted to 17,274,6771. The articles of import next in value are wheat-meal, 2,763,7937.; after that, maize, 1,971,2801.; and corn, 1,487,7251.
While, therefore, we encourage as a matter of duty and caution the cultivation of cotton in Queensland and India, and open new cotton countries to the capitalist, the colonist, and the planter in Africa and other regions, we must not forget that America has been hitherto our customer for manufactured cottons to the value of 3,500,000l. and upwards; for woollens, upwards of 3,000,000l.; slops, nearly 1,500,000.; and for iron, 7,000,000l. and upwards; not to mention the traffic existing between the mainland and the West India Islands. The consumption of sugar in America has been amazing; and she has been in main part dependent for such on the West Indies. The consumption averages nine hundred and fifty millions, or forty pounds for every man, woman, and child in the Union. It will be thus seen that, while America grows cotton for England, England manufactures her goods for America. While America buys from six or seven millions' worth of iron from England, England expends an almost equal sum with America in the purchase of the necessaries of life-in flour, grain, salted provisions, tobacco, and furs, proving the fallacy of the old idea that what is one man's gain is another man's loss. It may, indeed, be said that America feeds England as the Roman daughter fed her parent. Fifteen hundred ships traverse the ocean between England and America, measuring upwards of a million of tons, exclusive of steamers; while two mail steamers leave both countries every week, if not one every alternate day, from New York and Boston, and Liverpool and Southampton. What immense interests in peace, on both sides of the Atlantic, are represented by these figures and considerations! We have whole populations in mutual dependence, bound up together for weal or woe.
There must also ever be many fond ties and sympathies between the two nations, founded on ancient memories and a brotherhood of ages, which hours of passion are not lightly to dissolve; and the personal pride of each, in whatever the other shall achieve that is great and glorious, is a motive of attachment which neither of the two nations should be so covetous and ambitious as to disregard.
Interested as we undoubtedly are in the abolition of slavery, the more especially as the existence of such an institution has been the sole cause that the understanding between the two countries has not as yet been perfect, still there was no more reason that the slave States should coerce England into war with the free States in defence of their mere moneyed interests, than there was that the free States should compel her to war in their interest upon a matter of sentiment and morality. The knowledge that Great Britain can have no other possible object in view than the cultivation and improvement of friendship and good understanding with all the States of America, will do more to stay the belligerent powers, and bring about a compromise, than any other step that could have been taken. The whole of the causes of disagreement and misunderstanding are matters of arrangement, not of mutual destruction