« EelmineJätka »
right of search, never before conceded to us, has been granted, so that we now have a guarantee that the treaty will be carried out : and when I remark that in 1858 or 1859 (during the power of the slave party), thousands of slaves were annually imported into the South via Cuba, notwithstanding the treaties to the contrary, it will be seen that this is a large and important gain to freedom. How favourably this contrasts with the open and avowed object of the South to re-open the slave trade ! Let me ask you to listen to the testimony of Mr. Spratt (one of the ablest vindicators of the South) on this question. He says : "Believing that the institution (slavery) cannot be right if the trade is not, I regard the constitutional probibition of slavery as a great calamity;" and to prove his consistency he adds, “I was the single advocate of the slave trade in 1853; it is now the question of the times."
4th. The northern armies have now opened their arms to receive slaves who use their legs and make off ; and it is supposed that 60,000, at least, have already escaped from Missouri ; 80,000 from Virginia : and the Hon. Neal Dow (no mean authority) informs us that for seventy miles north of New Orleans, slavery is virtually abandoned. Again, at Port Royal, near Charleston, there are 10,000 negroes free, and working for wages. This experiment is one of the most interesting that has been made during the progress of the war.
5th. The abolition of slavery in the district of Columbia (that district round Washington over which the Federal government have supreme control), is accomplished so that the government, as such, are not now in any way implicated in the sin of slavery. It used to be a constant scandal to the American government, that just outside the walls of Congress, and often within sight of its windows, human beings were bought and sold like cattle. That disgrace is now removed.
6th. Above all, on the 1st of January, 1863, the slaves of all states in rebellion are decreed to be free, and will be virtually so to just as great an extent as the Northern power can reach. I am aware that this proclamation has caused a great outcry among some of our public organs. The “Times” has been very loud in its denunciations of provoking a war between masters and slaves ; but the “Times” forgets that all along it has been trying to make
as believe that the slaves are so contented and happy, that they would much rather fight for than against their masters. If the proclamation has done nothing else, it has, at any rate, disproved this false statement, and shown that those who made it knew that it was untrue. Is it not a fact, that so fearful are the Southern slaveholders of the proclamation even getting known to their slaves, that they have hung some twenty or more of them for no other crime than having the proclamation in their pockets? And yet those are the men we are asked to sympathise with and support. This is the nation that Mr. Gladstone tells us Jefferson Davis has made, and which is now asking to be recognised by Christian slavery-hating and slave-protecting England ! Looking, then, at the testimony of the Southern witnesses on the one hand, and of Northern witnesses on the other, together with the actual doings of the Lincoln government, I am justified, I think, in saying that the present war is a war about slavery, and slavery alone,
The second point I undertook to prove, was—that the triumph of the South would result in the extension and perpetuation of slavery.
The war, said Earl Russell, is for freedom on the one hand, and dominion on the other: but I think further reflection and observation will teach his lordship that he was mistaken. The South are fighting for the right to extend slavery over the territories of the states, and the North could end the war to-morrow by conceding that: how then can it be a war for dominion ? The South would unite with the North again within 24 hours if they would only consent to the extension of slavery in the territories of the states. May God prevent the North from ever accepting such a disgraceful proposition. Victory to the South (which so many people in this country talk and write as though they desire) would mean nothing short of the Southern or slave power becoming the strongest on the American continent, and that would result in the extension of the curse of slavery over the whole of the states, and possibly over the whole continent. Are Englishmen prepared for this? Can it be that in the land where the first battles of freedom against slavery were fought, we can have so far forgotten our traditions, our principles, and our triumphs on this subject? What can we descend so low as to wish GoD speed to 300,000 slave breeders and owners, in their infernal policy of trying to make this system the basis of their government and the corner-stone of their confederation ?
I cannot, and will not, believe that this can be. No, no. We have been for a time deluded ; dust has been thrown in our eyes ;
we have been watching the frantic and almost superhuman struggles of the Southern states; we have seen them doing deeds of daring, and what is called “fighting well” against powerful antagonists ; we have had all the blunders, absurd statements, and wrong-doings of the North exaggerated and distorted ; and we have looked at these things till we have almost got to admire the South. Said the senior member for Bristol (Mr. Berkeley) the other day, in my hearing—“If I see a big man and a little man fighting, I always wish success to the little one;" and wished us to understand thnt this was the reason why he admired the South. But I wonder it never occurred to the hon. member that it would be worth while, before giving sympathy to the “little one,” to inquire whether the said "little one” was fighting for a worthy object. I do not admire fighting at any time, even in a good cause. But, at any rate, let me have some reason to think that the object fought for is right, before I admire it. Now, I have proved that the object for which the South is fighting is slavery, and this is an object that Englishmen can never sanction, and ought not to sympathise with.
I have often heard the Southern rebellion compared to the “ Declaration of Independence” of 1776. But this is manifestly absurd. What was the ground of contention between this country and America in 1776 ? It was “taxation without representation.” The Americans said—“We will not be taxed unless we are represented;" the British Government said ..“You shall not be represented;" and hence the war.
Had the South any reason to complain of want of representation ? Did they not only vote for themselves, but also for their slaves, in the proportion of two votes for every five slaves ? so that the 4,000,000 of slaves gave the South 1,600,000 additional votes. And again, as every state, whatever its population, sends two representatives to the Senate, surely no sane man will contend that the South had any ground of complaint as to its share of the representation, or the want of political powers. How, then, can any
comparison be instituted between the present rebellion of the slaveowners of the South, and the Declaration of Independence of 1776? Is there a single principle, let me ask, of liberty involved in the struggle-except, as an honest but somewhat unwise Southerner remarked, some time ago, “the liberty to wallop one's nigger ?” Yes, the liberty to wallop niggers over any and every part of the territory of the United
States, is the avowed object of the South in the present war. And yet the “Times” and other organs of public opinion are calling loudly for England to give their moral support to this cause; and some people are weak enough to institute a comparison between the war of independence and the present miserable struggle to extend slavery, and throw up their caps and cry—"Success to the South !"
My third point is, that on this account the South do not deserve our sympathy. I need not enlarge much here. My previous remarks have anticipated the subject
. Suffice it to say, that I rejoice in the fact that, notwithstanding the sympathy expressed by the press for the cause of the South, the Government have stood manfully and honourably by the wise resolution of non-intervention, and I trust that they will persevere in this course to the end.
Depend upon it, a recognition of the South would not bring us cotton, or lead to the termination of the war. But it would, if possible, intensify and embitter it. I can quite respect and admire the feelings of those who, from
hatred to war and a full conviction of its horrors, are & anxious to see a stop put to the terrible strife now raging
in America. I respect and admire-nay, more, I sympathise with this feeling ; but depend upon it, our interference would only extend the strife and lead to its prolongation. The South has resolved to submit its claims to the sword ; it refused to argue, to negotiate, or to take any steps recognised by the Constitution to attain its ends ; it wantonly, wickedly, and treacherously drew the sword against a government of its own creation, and having taken the sword, let it perish (as it assuredly will) by the sword.
I do not mean by this that I wish the South to be subjected to any injustice or wrong, and I hope the North will not attempt to coerce them back into the Union, or to control them against their will. I fear their admission into the Union again, would only be the forerunner of fresh compromises and concessions on the part of the North. Let the South give up their claim to extend the hateful system of slavery west of the Mississippi, and then I hope the North will let go their hold. Circle them round with a belt of free states, and leave slavery to rot itself out; proclaim freedom to every “chattel” that crosses the border, forbid the hunting of slaves on Northern soil, bring the Canadian boundary down to the Potomac, let the Mississippi become what the Ohio and the St. Lawrence have been (and what the Jordan was to the Jews), the separation between the wilderness of slavery and the land of promise ; – let this be done, and the American Union will become the symbol of peace, progress, and prosperity. I know there are great geographical difficulties (as Mr. Lincoln has most ably shown) in making any separation between the North and the South. I will refer to only one proof of this, namely, the fact that of eighty-four rivers running from the North, over seventy of these run through portions of the Southern States ; and surely it would be a calamity to America and the world for the commerce over these great natural highways to be obstructed by those restrictions which a separation would be almost certain to cause. It is the more remarkable that we should sympathise with the cause of the South, because the party now trying to break up the Union have always been the abusers and the accusers of our country. The Democratic, or proslavery party, have always been the most bitter towards us, because we were the enemies of slavery, and the friends of * freedom all over the world. Their statesmen and public organs have always insulted and bullied us in every possible way. In 1828 they had the audacity to propose that we should allow them to hunt their negroes over Canada, and were very near obtaining permission to do so. Had the Trent affair happened when the Democrats were in power, I have no hesitation in saying there certainly would have been war. The Republican party (now happily in power) have always been the friends of England as well as enemies to the extension of slavery ; and therefore I contend that they, and not the South, deserve our sympathy and moral support.