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claim to live by winning its livelihood from the soil. "If any man will not work, neither shall he eat." The slave system has shown us its charter, hitherto, ratified by its two hundred million dollars of annual exports. And it challenges the system of free labor, dealing with the same materials, to make good its place. We are told, in every variety of dialect, that the negro is shiftless and lazy, incapable of steady work; that his soul will satisfy itself with "pumpkins,” letting cotton and sugar perish; that he will content himself with cane-thatch for habitation, and rags or nakedness instead of decent raiment; that the imperious need, the higher civilization, and the plantation discipline of his white master have been necessary to redeem him from savage sloth, and raise him to the industrial dignity of an ox or ass. The challenge is made in entire good faith. It claims to rest on fact and experience. It is made continually by those who ought to know best. And it deserves that we should meet it fairly.
First of all, in meeting it, we may dismiss any anxiety lest the blacks should not be able to "take care of themselves." Certainly it would be an appalling prospect,-four millions of pauper population thrown suddenly upon the resources of a nation, however willing and strong. But the statement is its own refutation. In a free struggle for existence, if it should ever come to that, it is not the working population of a country that is going to the wall. On the richest soil in the world, and plenty of it, starvation is certainly not the thing to apprehend, not for several centuries at least; and not at all for a population accustomed to have their wants supplied at the rate of six cents a day. Their "hog and hominy," their pone, poultry, and potatoes, are in no instant danger of failing them. In 1848,* it was reckoned that the unoccupied territory in the slave States was equal to the entire area of the free States, and a hundred thousand acres besides. No outlook of starvation here! A very small proportion indeed of the industry and skill that have made the masters rich will keep the laborers out of beggary. An inde
Before the admission of the four great States, Wisconsin, California, Minnesota, and Kansas.
pendent colony of refugees has subsisted, even flourished, in the Dismal Swamp. There is not the slightest reason, from any experiments or any observations hitherto made, to fear that liberated blacks will not amply meet their own necessities, or the slightest pretence for making the question regarding their subsistence a question of alms-giving in any shape. If there are going to be any objects of charity in consequence of emancipation, they will be from quite another class than these.
The point which we have thus briefly set aside entirely misstates the difficulty. And that we had best not disguise itis a real difficulty. It is, the shock which may be given to the system of productive industry on so vast an area, and, through that, to the commerce and civilization of the globe. Mankind at large has a vested interest in the great fertile belts of the earth's surface. Humanity has a right to exact that no considerable portion of its domain, once won from the wilderness, shall be allowed to run to waste. No powerful nation will endure to have a thriftless and beggarly horde on its frontier, spreading wantonly over its productive acres. The very existence of the black race among us is staked on its ability not merely to keep itself alive, but to do its share of the world's work.
The territory of the slave States has hitherto made no unimportant feature in the industrial map of the world. The figures in which the South has paraded its commercial consequence its two hundred million dollars of annual exports— only feebly suggest the magnitude of that river of industry and wealth, in which Southern products have hitherto made an essential part. The alarm of cotton famine in Manchester, the distress invading the manufactories of Lyons and Lille, the stopping of spindles and checking of looms in Massachusetts, with anxious calculation how long the embargo can be endured, are painfully suggestive of the solidarity of the businessworld; so that charity, comfort, civilization, the life itself of multitudes of human beings, are part of the stake involved in the question touching plantation industry. For a year, the accumulated resources of mankind have sustained this check, yet with dread and misgiving and much misery. Another year will doubtless find new sources of production open, to
make good the loss in part. India, Australia, Africa, Peru, may possibly fill up the channels that have run so low. But if it is true that the actual amount of human labor spent upon the Southern soil—that is, the actual production of wealth there is going to fall off, say one half, we need not affect to deny that the consequences will be very serious, perhaps to the world at large, certainly to ourselves. So enormous a void as that, made suddenly in a nation's resources, implies a great shock somewhere, and a loss against which a government cannot guard too vigilantly.
And we do not see that the blacks could be either blamed or wondered at, if there should be so great a falling off as that. No human creature, from motives of general benevolence, or the interests of civilization at large, will condemn himself to a steady round of plantation work in unwholesome damps and torrid heats. Even the experience of England, with the best-trained working population on the globe, and the best working climate, does not go far to convince us that most men can be relied on for the strain of labor, beyond the meeting of a very few plain wants. In a hot country, these wants are very cheaply met. The enfranchised slaves of Jamaica, if we remember right, objected to working for their old masters at a shilling a day, and struck for one and sixpence. Certainly we do not blame them for it. But it put the world to the inconvenience, and emancipation to the obloquy, of waiting these five and twenty years for the slow development of industry in a squatter life in the Jamaica highlands, and the slow acquisition of those more civilized wants which are gradually bringing West Indian exports up to the old standard. Far be it from us to censure, or even to regret, a process which has built up homesteads in place of mansions flanked by barracoons, and created a people to some extent intelligent and free, in place of mere barbarian hordes sweating in the service of Creole luxury. But the temporary inconvenience of it, it would be useless to deny; and what was a temporary inconvenience on a little island may become a public calamity when expanded to the proportions of half a continent.
To meet this grave and real difficulty, we have, first, the
fresh colonizing of that soil by free settlers. As emancipation works itself out, the slow but inevitable result of the present convulsion, new and more vigorous blood will be thrown into the veins of the white population of the South. Probably half the territory of the seaboard States offers greater attractions to colonists than the average of prairie lands, — certainly, to such as cannot easily forget the mountains and the sea and the familiar forest-growths of the East. The belt of highland, near a hundred miles in width, which we call the Alleghany range, with its picturesque outline and slopes of exquisite verdure, affords already the nucleus of a free population, with many sympathies and affinities binding them to the civilization of the North. Forfeited estates will be occupied as bounty-lands, or by purchase, by men who temper the hardihood of frontier life with the training of Northern schools and the curious skill of Northern workshops. The frightful barbarism which this war has exhibited, even among many who boast gentler blood and the refinements of social life, must be extirpated, if not by the red hand of conquest, at least by a tide of emigration strong enough to defend its own rights, and granting no truce to the insolence of the former lords of the soil. We look very confidently, as one of the results of this contest, to the regeneration of Southern society, which at so many points has shown itself both brutal and effete. A wholesome deluge is to be poured over that field, by this opening the wide flood-gates of war. The new civilization of those regions will inevitably be built up, like that of the North and West, on the foundation of free industry and general intelligence. And as these flourish and are strong, they will push back the frontier of ignorant barbarism, whatever there is of it to apprehend; and adopt into their own system the emancipated laborers of the South, exactly as we have adopted the foreign populations that thronged upon us in the guise of paupers and refugees. We can hardly set limits to the capacity, in this regard, of the powerful and healthy civilization which will soon control that large domain. Just in proportion as the blacks are already fit to participate in it, or so fast as they become fit hereafter, they will find their legitimate place in it.
VOL. LXXIII. - 5TH S. VOL. XI. NO. I.
But, after making all possible allowance for this, the original problem still remains. We have reduced its magnitude somewhat, but not its reality or its character. Suppose that, by the means we have indicated, we have left undisposed of only half the present slave population, say two millions,— occupying the hot and fertile lowlands of the extreme South. A single generation will carry their number up to the old limit; and a wild, half-nomadic life, such as mere emancipation would lead to, would make them infinitely more difficult subjects than now. With the inimitable strategy of the ostrich, some persons succeed in not seeing this difficulty. They seem to imagine that the word Emancipation has some cabalistic power, that it removes this prodigious population out of the range of our concern,- that it as it were cancels its existence as one of the elements in our body politic. Or else they believe, weakly but sincerely, that a free population are by the very fact an industrious, orderly, contented, useful, intelligent population; or that they will become so spontaneously, under the ordinary disciplines and influences which we may safely enough take for granted. We do not allow ourselves to be so beguiled. And, instead of feeling particularly confident or triumphant in prospect of the mere fact of the overthrow of slavery, we frankly avow our conviction that it will substitute for the old problem one scarce inferior to it in perplexity, and coming a good deal closer home to our own conscience and responsibility.
Still, we think that something is done when we have reduced the problem to its lowest terms. And, on a fair consid eration of the various elements involved, we think this has now been done. A very large population of the African race will continue to exist upon our soil. It will have its characteristics as a race, and its loosely defined limits of habitation. No circumstances that we can possibly foresee will either abolish it, or absorb it, or transmute it into something else. Meanwhile, a powerful and effective constraint, which has heretofore compelled them into the service of civilization,— though in a blind and rude way, as mere slaves and drudges, -will be taken off, or very greatly lightened. And for the welfare of mankind, for the security of the nation, for the