« PreviousContinue »
VIII. GREAT BRITIAN.
Percy Bysche Shelley,
George Noel Byron,
George W. F. Howard,
A. Carlisle J. Addison,
Thomas Fowell Buxton,
Foreign Quarterly Review.
Sine Libertate nihil bonum est, nihil expetendum hominibus.—PLUTARC
THIS Legion of Liberty is a continuation of the pamphlets "Liberty," published within the last five years, which should have been generally distributed. "Liberty" comprised authorities for the most part prior to the organization of the "Abolitionists," this second division contains more of those who are technically so called; it should be read in connection with the other, without which it is incomplete. It will be found to include nearly every variety of the branches of its prolific theme; and of views, reasoning, facts, style, &c. These brief extracts are principally taken from the Anti-Slavery periodicals and publications, of which they give a general glimpse, and to which those willing to prosecute the subject are referred.
While by the common law of Nature we should be free as our original elements, and by the written law of our constitutions and statutes, we boast as our birth-right, of freedom, civil and religious, freedom of speech and of the press; still on this really practical and vitally important subject, which mainly regulates our legisla tion and morals, our political economy and national (want of,) prosperity and influence; the total enslavement of nearly three millions of our fellow human beings, the wretched victims of tyranny on their own native soil; here we stand convicted to our consciences and to the world, as the abject slaves of slavery. The pulpit is muzzled, it cannot speak; the press is fettered, it cannot move; the right arm of the law is manacled, it cannot stretch forth to maintain its own authority and supremacy. The defence of Liberty, "that holy principle, whose name is on every lip, on every coin, on every badge of the land," excites persecution in the church, proscription in the state, and infamy and outlawry in the social and domestic relations; and for all these outrages perpetrated in a land governed by public opinion, the signal cry is "AntiSlavery! Abolition !" alias Freedom! Justice!
The severe pecuniary distress and general bankruptcy, has at last convinced all classes that the credit system implies corresponding debt; the day of reckoning foreseen by men. of sound views has
come with aggravation proportioned at compound interest to its procrastination. The signs of the times manifestly declare that the generation is born which will also witness the death of slavery in these United States. Whether this human Augean stable, must be swept by a deluge of blood, or whether by a pure wholesome stream from Freedom's fount, the conversion of slaves into citizens, depends upon the sovereign people. The great Arbiter of events has left this yet in the control of his free agents. The varied scenes of horror, when the dread day of retribution shall arrive, the massacres, the wholesale rapine, the protracted tortures, the anarchy of a civil and a servile war;-no mortal has had the temerity to anticipate or imagine;-but it is written, "With what judgment ye judge ye shall be judged, and with what measure ye mete it shall be measured to you again."
In arguments and facts, appeals to sympathy and equity, the abolitionists have with them the Universe. The hydra-headed monster oppression shrinks instinctively convulsed from the reflection of its own hideous features, and by fraud, falsehood and violence, by lynch-law and gag-law, writhes to shun the exposure, but every plea and pretext ventured by it, or its infamous tools, inevitably recoils. "The slave" say they, "has less care and more, ease than the master;" then it is only fair that they should change conditions; which party would object ?—"The slave is more comfortable and better provided for than the Northern Laborer;"—then all the battles and speeches, and writings, and preaching, and prayers for liberty are vain and false. To test this, propose to the free yenmanry and mechanics of the North, that they and their families forever, be elevated to the state of utter bondage of the South." But the Abolitionists have put the cause of emancipation back half a century."-Not yet, for then the seven new slave states should be nullified, and the two millions increase of slaves be liberated. Within the last half century, the number of full blooded slave states has doubled, and the number of full blooded and half blooded slaves quadrupled. This frightful, this tremendous increase, gives the lie direct to the shameless, hypocritical pretence, that the present race of slave-mongers are guiltless, that the system was entailed on them, and they are not responsible. What measure has been atempted or suggested to prevent or restrain this geometrical ratio of increase. Is it the insane acts of the enslaved states of the south, and dough brains of the north, in smuggling in the recognition of Texas, and attempting the amalgation of this worthy sister republic! a recognition which signed the death warrant of the union, which only waits annexation to be irrevocably sealed. Is it the Colonization Society, the Jesuitical engine of perpetual banishment to its colored victims, whose freedom here might be dangerous to the "peculiar institution;"-banishment! a cruel word, which even the rude Romans would not allow in their penal laws. This society which until lately perverted the sympathies and paralysed the energies of the few real friends of the oppressed, for the first sixteen of its most palmy and prosperous years, could by fraud or force effect the expulsion of only 2,162; this in sixteen years, while the increase of the colored slaves is 60,000 each year.
Why not liberate and colonize them, where they were born and their fathers before them; here, where there services are needed, where, it is said, their labor is indispensable, without the enormous expense of transportation, and sacrifice of human lives in acclimation and hardships. Emancipation to be effectual must be general throughout the union; all compensation is encouragement except on condition that the system be annihilated. Were Maryland, for instance to declare itself a free state, most of her colored inhabitants would be torn from their relations and homes, where proximity and intercourse with the free states is some check to cruelty, and domestic employment and old attachment renders their condition comparatively endurable, to be driven to the plantations of the south west, to be whipped and starved to death on those human slaughter grounds; it would be, to lessen the evil in its mitigated, and extend it in its aggravated forms. The haughty ancient dominion, the mother of Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Patrick Henry, the Randolphs, and other staunch abolitionists, is compelled to obtain a livelihood by this noble means, the breeding of slaves for the human shambles, the trafficing in the nerves, hearts, and souls of her own colored sons and daughters, in whose veins frequently courses her best blood, and thus save "the slaves from advertising for runaway masters." And while this domestic slave trade is th staple business of the South, the foreign still rages with similar hor rors, which only the extinction of its cause, the market for slaves, can suppress. Since nothing but evil can possibly flow either directly or remotely from this polluted source, slavery; instead of shutting the eyes like the idiot, frightened at his own shadow, and hiding the head in the dust like the stupid ostrich before destruction, why not grapple with the mortal foe like men, like freemen! In lieu of any other or better plan, the following suggestions are offered:
Of the public lands a part were originally ceded by some of the old states, for the purpose of paying the national debt, which being accomplished, they should have reverted to the donor states; the rest were purchased by money from the public treasury, of which the proportion of the northern states would be about threefourths. This domain being the common property of the common people, the most equitable and sure mode of dividing it among its owners, would be by an amendment of the constitution, to distribute the annual proceeds among the states in ratio of their representation, for the perpetual support of common schools in each state; the principal to be invested in internal improvements or loaned for banking purposes, the state being security for principal and 6 per cent interest; the interest to be appropriated and applied to common schools according to some plan of organization, of which the state of New-York probably presents the best model. As we have, and can have no established religion like the church-andstate despotisms, it is indispensable that we should have an established system of education, to ensure the general intelligence of the people, without which a republic is but a name. The public revenue should be raised directly by a tax on all property, that each may pay according to his ability, and know the amount he pays;