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part of the existence of the United States the South itself has governed the Union. If they were cheated in the bargain, it was their own fault: it may have been a bad one for them, but they accepted it with their eyes open, as is sufficiently shown by the discussions with South Carolina on nullification, and by the continued struggles on the subject of the tariff between 1823 and 1833 — struggles which at that time almost ended in secession. On the other hand, Miss Martineau justly speaks of the Seminole war as only one in the long series of incidents which exhibit • the free and prosperous North as the tool and the servant of
the slaveholding and declining South.'* According to our view of the case, neither party have a right to assert that they were defrauded by the other.
Northern statesmen, like Webster, shrank naturally from provoking the discord which threatened to produce secession. They desired at all cost to uphold the Union, and they saw that they could do so only by conciliating the South. From conviction, or that self-persuasion which produces conviction, they adopted a certain theory of the Constitution. They thought that they could thus at any rate postpone the evil day of separation which had been so often predicted—who could tell whether, if the whole Union grew together a little longer, that day would ever come at all? The object was grand and patriotic, and they did not scruple as to the means. Slavery existed in the South, and if the South were to be retained in the Union, slavery must, within its own region at least, be fostered and protected. Hence came the fugitive slave law and the supremacy
which the South was so long allowed to exercise. On the other hand, the South knew the weakness of their own position. They felt that in order to be safe they must govern, and provided they did substantially govern, they were willing to abandon their economical interests. It must never be forgotten that, notwithstanding the professed equality of political rights, the citizens of the Southern and of the Northern States were not politically equal. The former were in fact an aristocracy in relation to the latter, and an aristocracy based on property of a peculiar kind. A voter in the South was worth more than a voter in the North, because the number of representatives of the Southern States was determined, not by their proportion of free men, but by a census in which threefifths of the slaves were reckoned as an integral part of the population of each.t
* American Compromises.
| It is often a subject of wonder how such a provision could be VOL. CXVI. NO. CCXXXVI.
Professor Cairnes states the case thus:
• The House of Representatives professed to be based on the principle of representation in proportion to population, but, by virtue of this clause, in reckoning population, slaves were to count in the proportion of five slaves to three free persons. Now, when we remember that the slaves of the South number four millions in a population of which the total is under ten millions, it is not difficult to perceive what must be the effect of such an arrangement upon the balance of forces under the Constitution. In the Presidential election of 1856, the slave representation was nearly equal to one-third of the whole Southern representation ; from which it appears that the influence of the South in the general representation of the Union was, in virtue of the three-fifths vote, nearly one-half greater than it would have been had the popular principle of the Constitution been fairly carried out. But the influence of the South, as we formerly saw, merely means the influence of a few hundred thousand slaveholders ; the whole political power of the South being in practice monopolised by this body. The case, therefore, stands thus: Under the local institutions of the Slave States, the slaveholding interest a mere fraction in the whole population — predominates in the South ; while, under this provision of the Federal Constitution, the South acquires an influence by one-half greater than legitimately belongs to it. It is true this would not enable the Southern States, while their aggregate population was inferior to that of the Northern, to command a majority in the Lower House by means of their own members. But we must remember that the South is a homogeneous body, having but one interest to promote and one policy to pursue ; while the interests and aims of the North are various, and its councils are consequently divided.' (Cairnes, PP165, 166.)
It is impossible in the face of these facts to assert that the Southern States were the mere victims of fraud and oppression in the matter of the tariff. Whatever disadvantages they have laboured under, and however they may have mistaken their own true interests, the blame of such disadvantages and such errors must rest on their own heads. They sacrificed free trade and commercial independence because they thought it worth while to do so. Whether they are therefore morally bound to adhere to their bargain in perpetuity, is quite another question.
Mr. Spence argues that slavery was not the origin of the
assented to by the Northern States, but its adoption was almost & matter of necessity. The Confederation in 1783 had made this rule the basis of taxation ; if taxation and representation were to go together, it was natural to adopt the same principle in settling the number of representatives. See Curtis's History of the Consti
. 'tution,' vol. ii. pp. 48. 160.
quarrel between the North and South, because, under the Constitution, the South had every security for the maintenance of their property which they could desire, and because the neighbourhood of a Northern republic, which would be the necessary consequence of secession, must be far more injurious to them as slave-owners than the continuance of the Union. He says:
• The truth is apparent, that, so far as slavery is concerned, the South has every possible reason for remaining in the Union, and that they have acted in direct opposition to that interest, under the influence of other and more powerful considerations.' (P. 135.)
In speaking thus Mr. Spence does little more than state rather strongly the case of the North against the South, and the words just quoted are hardly consistent with what follows as to the efforts of the Abolitionists, and the provocation given by the growing hatred of slavery in the Northern States. In truth, anger and resentment at these efforts had more to do with the exasperation of the South, than a sound conviction as to what they were to gain.
In our April number of 1861, we stated that slavery was the origin of the quarrel, and we think so still ; but to use the words of Professor Cairnes himself
· The view that the true cause of the American contest is to be found in the character and aims of the slave power, though it connects the war ultimately with slavery as its radical cause, by no means involves the supposition that the motive of the North in taking up arms has been the abolition of slavery. (P. 19.)
Accordingly we do not admit that, because slavery was the source whence the quarrel sprang, it therefore is the subjectmatter for which the parties are contending. The two questions are entirely distinct. Slavery is without doubt a monstrous evil, but whether it will be most effectually restrained or will be finally suppressed by the conquest of the South, is to us more than doubtful. We would ask what has maintained, unmitigated, the horrors of slavery in spite of the public opinion of the world? The protection of the North. Does. any man believe that if South Carolina had been a member of a small and comparatively insignificant Union like that of the Southern States, we should have submitted to have our coloured sailors taken out of their ships and imprisoned at Charleston ? We could not resent this gross injustice without quarrelling with the Union, for the conservative politicians of the North, logically enough, thought that the protection of slavery was essential to the permanence of their national existence. President Lincoln himself, in his inaugural address, declared that he had no purpose and no lawful right to interfere with the institu
tion of slavery in the States where it existed; and, according to the Constitution, he was right in his view. His proclamation of September 22nd had not then appeared.
In his letter to Horace Greely of the 22nd of August last he said :
• If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without free. ing any slave, I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and learing others alone, I would also do that. What I do about slavery and the coloured race, I do because I believe it helps to save this Union, and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union.'
The North would be willing to uphold to the letter in all existing States the right of the master over the slave, if by so doing they could bribe the South to return to the Union. If the old conservative party in New England, as well as the democrats, looked with disapprobation on all the tampering with emancipation which went on before at Washington, what will they say to the recent proclamation? The majority of the representatives of the Border States repudiate Mr. Lincoln's plan for purchasing the freedom of their slaves, and profess to disbelieve that it could ever be carried out in practice.
This last point as affecting the Border States only may be thought doubtful, but it appears very improbable that the people of those States would willingly acquiesce in any scheme such as that which their representatives have rejected. On the other hand, we see little reason to hope that the final and immediate triumph of the North would insure the tranquil abolition of slavery in the South. Even Professor Cairnes, as we have seen, admits that they are not fighting for this object.
This point deserves to be looked at more closely, and we will therefore assume the conquest of the South as accomplished, and suppose that a sincere disposition to emancipate the slaves exists among the Northern States. The difficulty of the work to be done would be even then almost inconceivable. Let us go a step further, and suppose that Mr. Lincoln had succeeded in redeeming with Federal paper, the slaves in Virginia, Kentucky,
* In illustration of this, so far as the Whigs of New England are concerned, see the passage quoted below from Mr. G. T. Curtis's speech on the 4th of July last.
Tennessee, Maryland, and Delaware (who amount to about a million): there will remain three millions of human beings whose whole training has been conducted on the principle of making them useful to their master, and incapable of acting for themselves — men, women, and children, in all stages of helplessness, who have never been taught to read, because reading might make them intelligent, and who have never been allowed to think, because thinking might make them insubordinate. The practical question is this: If the conquest of the South were complete, and the property of the rebels confiscated, what would probably be done by the victors, to whom would belong these spoils ?* Would these Northern conquerors be imbued with such a sense of the horrors of slavery, and such a deep feeling of their own responsibility, as to forego all immediate advantage from the compulsory labour of these negroes, and set them free at once or gradually, as the case might be? Is there anything in the principles of the American Constitution, as we have seen it authoritatively interpreted by the Supreme Court, and administered by successive Presidents, which would lead us to expect this enthusiasm on behalf of freedom? Or is the humanity of the North and West so clearly shown in their treatment of the free negroes who wish to live among them, as to make us rely on their sympathy with the slaves as men ? We must admit, that the difficulty of the task would form some excuse for shrinking from such an act of self-denial. That the negro population, if set free, will not be permitted to migrate whither they please, is shown by the laws against the
* Professor Cairnes warmly applauds President Lincoln's message to Congress recommending a co-operation on the part of the Federal Government with such States as are willing to accept a policy of emancipation. He says :- Practicality and unaffected earnestness
of purpose are written in every line of the message. In the full ' knowledge evinced of the actual circumstances of the Border States,
combined with the adroitness with which advantage is taken of their ' peculiar position as affected by passing events, there is displayed a rare political sagacity, which is not more creditable to its author than is the genuine sincerity which shines through his simple and weighty words. (P. 288.)
The practicality' (to use Professor Cairnes's own word) of the plan may be doubted, when we see it rejected, as it has been; and its unaffected earnestness may be questionable, or at any rate it appears pretty clear that the motive for proposing it was not a dislike to slavery. The absurdity of the project seems still greater when we learn that these unhappy negroes are to be landed no one knows where in the territory of another Power in Central America, which of course declines to receive them under the American flac