Obrazy na stronie

“ Under such circumstances, we ought peither | he endeavours to introduce Kansas as a slave to count the cost nor regard the odds which Spain State ; and that his only chance of retaining might enlist against us. We forbear to enter into his majority lies in throwing himself heart the question, whether the present condition of the and soul into the arms of the South, or rather island would justify such a measure. We should, however, be recreant to our duty, be unworthy of into those of the fillibusters, if we read aright our gallant forefathers, and commit base treason such passages as these :against our posterity, should we permit Cuba to be Africanized and become a second St. Domingo, “But if Mr. Buchanan turn his back on those with all its attendant horrors to the white race, expedients, if he refuse to abdicate his mission as and suffer the flames to extend to our own neigh- a President of the United States at this juncture, bouring shores, seriously to endanger, or actually and direct the energies of the Government where to consume the fair fabric of our Union.

the Ostend letter--the best document he ever “ We fear that the course and current of events signed-points, to wit, towards the tropics, toare rapidly tending towards such a catastrophe. wards Caba, Nicaragua, and Mexico, he will sucWe, however, hope for the best, though we ought, ceed. He owes his election to the vote of the certainly, to be prepared for the worst."

South, and to the defiant attitude of resistance

which she was beginning to assume. He should If we remember rightly, the illustration of bear that fact well in mind. He will be a traitor the burning house the proximo ardet Uca- and insensible to every manly feeling of gratitude, legon—was employed by a leading London if he forget it and disregard the obligations it imjournal to justify the intervention

of Great Spirit of the Ostend letter ; let him look to our in

plies. Then let him live up to the letter and Britain in the affairs of Naples. It would ob- terests in Cuba, which, by right of geography and viously serve equally well to justify the inter- of political necessity, should be ours; let him forposition of France to put down the free press tify Walker in Nicaragua and forestall Spanish of Belgium, or that of Austria to suppress and French designs upon Mexico ; let him place (what she would call) such a hotbed of liber- the great Tehuantepec route beyond the hazard of alism as Sardinia. Necessity is proverbially of territory across that isthmus. Let him do

being lost to us by securing the grant of a strip the tyrant's plea, and its occasional employ- these things, and we can laugh to scorn the subtle ment for a good purpose, or from a good policy of Seward, the rhetorical raving of Sumner, motive, simply strengthens it, and facilitates and the blatant menaces of their followers. There its employment when it is used as an offensive would be a bowl from the Abolitionists and free weapon by the strong against the weak. In negroes, of course. But the great issues such a the majority of such instances, the fire is policy would bring up would confront us face to kindled, or some smouldering emblems are would be borne down by that national spirit

face with England and France. The Opposition blown into a flame, by the intervening party which always sways the national heart when conlooking about for a pretext; and, in almost fronted with other nations. The acquisition of all, the conflagration is too far off or too slight Cuba, in defiance of England and France, would to excite well-founded alarm, -it simply not split the Union - it would strengthen it. causes temporary inconvenience: it does not The regeneration of Central America by Walker threaten existence, which it should do, to in alliance with the United States would lead to bring the case fairly within the paramount law the gradual emancipation of the West Indies from of self-preservation. Il faut vivre,” said the infamous free-negroism established by the ene'the thief; " Je n'en vais pas la nécessité,” re- from Maine to California are sick and tired of old plied the judge, and sentenced him to be issues. They want something new, bold, and ex. hanged. The whole civilized world may pansive. They.want a policy, in keeping with make the same reply to the Fillibusters of the steam, railroads, and telegraphs. They want new United States, when they say that their“cher- leaders, new homes, and new ideas." ished Union," or their no less cherished institution of slavery, requires to be upheld or The effect of a war with the great mariextended by robbery and bloodshed. time powers of Europe on American com

That Mr. Buchanan will consider himself merce is sagaciously kept in the background, bound by his Ostend Manifesto is by no but it is constantly present to the apprehenmeans probable. A candidate, or an opposi-sions of the most influential people in the tion leader, will profess or encourage doc States, including the cotton planters; and trines which he knows to be utterly incom- we are not at all afraid that either President patible with official responsibility. or Congress will advisedly provoke hostili

Mr. Buchanan will thus, most probably, ties, although circumstances may occur which accommodate his policy to his position. Yet may render a foreign war, expedient to avert the "Go-ahead” party seem by no means a civil war; just as it is well understood inclined to let him off. In the New Orleans that Napoleon the Third, with all his perDelta (the organ of Jefferson Davis) the new sonal regard for England, would not hesitate President is forewarned that his northern sup- to quarrel with or invade her tomorrow, if porters will speedily fall off from him when such a step were necessary to divert atten

tion from his domestic embarrassments. partial justice on his requisition, would The slave question may bring about such a shrink from personal contact with him as in. crisis at any moment, and the settlement of stinctively as the feudal baron shrunk from the Kansas affair (which is still unsettled) the touch of the Jew from whom he sought will produce at best but a temporary lull. to wring gold by torture. At present there are fifteen slave States and Dr. Johnson used to relate exultingly sixteen free States, each appointing two sen- how he had given Mrs. Macaulay, a professed ators, without reference to population. The republican, a practical lesson :-“Madam, I admission of Kansas as a slave State, therefore, am now become a convert to your way of would apparently equalize the parties. But thinking. I am convinced that all mankind in point of fact, the slave party has already are upon an equal footing; and to give you a majority in the Senate, and so strong a an unquestionable proof, moreover, that I minority in the House of Representatives, am in earnest, here is a sensible, civil, wellthat they uniformly obtain their main objects. behaved fellow-citizen, your footman; I deTheir success in this respect, combined with sire that he may be allowed to sit down and their extreme arrogance, seems to have dine with us." "Let Mrs. Stowe try this exroused at last the pride or jealousy of the periment with some of the leading Abolitionfree States; and they are pressed with an ists, and she will find the measure of the argument which hardly admits of a logical progress that has been made in the good or even plausible reply.

work, and of the mountains of prejudice that In apportioning the number of representa- yet remain to be levelled or cut through. tives according to population, five blacks are Yet this is the only mode in which the deequivalent to three whites. If blacks are sired object can be consummated; and we mere chattels, why should they confer polit- do not agree with those who condemn her ical rights any more than other chattels? or Mr. Sumner for infusing exasperation, iror why should a slave State, by virtue of its ritability, or the phrenzied violence of fear live stock, claim to out-vote a free State, into the discussion. Revolutions are not which could buy it up twenty times over made with rose water. It was not by mild If, even in theory, they contemplated or language or soothing epithets that Luther would admit the remotest possibility of the roused Europe to a sense of the abuses of black taking his place in the social system the Church. The coarse and selfish must be as a thinking being and independent mem- frightened and startled into humanity. ber, the contradiction would be less glaring, They must be compelled to look about them, but this is precisely what they never will and read their history in the eyes of the best recognise; whilst, what complicates the and most honoured of their cotemporaries in problem, and clouds the future, the more every quarter of the globe. It is only by so enlightened people of the North shrink from doing, and by deeply meditating on what social contact with the negro race, and stig- they see and learn, that they can save them. matize any mixture of black blood, with selves and the glorious land which they inevery external sign of more inveterate pre- habit from great calamities and great crimes. judice than the slaveholder. The explana- Lord Carlisle has stated, as one result of tion is simple; and a phenomenon of the what he had observed during his travels in same sort may be observed in any European the New World," I should not object to country where the aristocracy of birth or po- be a slave if I had a good master; but I sition is fenced round by a strict line of de- should very much object to being a slavemarcation. The nobles will there constant-holder anyhow.” Mr. Monckton Milnes, to ly be found more affable to their inferiors and whom we are indebted for this anecdote, less anxious to repelthe familiarity of the ple- pointed it by adding: “This is the true beian, than in countries where the highest class way of putting the question; for how sad blends gradually with the middle. Just so, must be the condition of that man who is the removal of the legal distinction between afraid to educate and elevate those about the black man and his white neighbour sim- him ?" Most probably Lord Carlisle was ply leads to the strengthening of the conven- also thinking of the sinfulness of such protional barrier. The black may have rights prietorship, and of the inevitable tendency and privileges, but it is as much as his life is of irresponsible power to foster the worst worth to exercise them. If he entered a jury- passions, to destroy all self-command, to ruin box, he would be motioned out of it or left the temper, and to harden the heart. Mrs. alone. If he attempted to vote at an election, Stowe may not have been eminently successhe would be hooted and pelted from that ful in Dred, in which she aimed at depicting pure emblem of uncontrolled liberty, the the social effects of slavery on the proprieballot-box. The very magistrate, could such tary class. She may have proved wanting a one be found, who should administer im- in that instinct of genius which enabled Balzac to paint Parisian men and women com- grasping spirit on the part of the govern me il faut, without knowing them; but no ment of the United States. But little more one who has studied the mind or heart of can be attempted in the way of purchase or man can doubt that the institution in question conquest, without provoking a general war; is irremediably destructive of the highest and in the natural course of events, therefore, qualities of both.

their sadly abused sway will be wrested Nor are its blighting, blinding, cramping, from them. In that case, will the hackneyand corrupting influences confined to those ed threat of breaking up the Union prevent who directly profit by it. These manifestly the majority from legislating in accordance extend, more or less, to all who live within with the fundamental principles of the Reits sphere or partake of the modes of public ? thinking engendered by it. Look at the Mr. Seward made light of this threat. rest of the population of the slave states, “ the poor whites of the South,” who outnum- “ The Slave States," he says, “practically gov. ber the actual slaveholders with their fami- erned the Union directly for fifty years. They lies in the proportion of at least three to one. govern it now indirectly through the agency of They are almost wholly destitute of educa- Northern hands temporarily enlisted in their suption: they are wretchedly poor ; and it is port. So much, owing to the decline of their only necessary to compare their condition power, they have already conceded to the Free

States. The next step, if they persist in their with that of the labouring class in the free present course, will be the resumption and exerStates to see at a glance that their degrada- cise by the Free States of the power of the govtion is owing to slavery. Yet they are the ernment, without such concessions as they have willing tools of their proud and lordly hitherto made to attain it. Throughoat a period neighours, and are always ready to perpe- of nearly twenty years, the defenders of slavery trate any amount of violence at their bidding: cils. Now they practically confess to the neces

screened it from discussion in the national counIt was they who invaded Kansas, intimidated sity for defending it here, by initiating the disthe judges, and did the tarring and feather-cussion themselves. They have at once thrown ing business as it was wanted. It is they away their most successful weapon, compromise, who, when they emigrate, retire to the out- and waived that one which was next in effectiveskirts of civilisation, where they lead a semi- ness, threats of secession from the Union." savage life, owning no law but that which they themselves carry out under the familiar But no extent of idle flourishing can wear name of Lynch. Whilst slavery is upheld, out or blunt a powerful and trenchant weathere is confessedly no chance of supplying pon, although, like the cry of wolf in the their place with a more industrious or bet- fable, it may have ceased to inspire fear; ter-conditioned race. “Slave labour and for separation touches the pockets as well free labour,” says Governor Reeder, “as all as the natural pride of the Northern States. men admit, North and South, cannot exist If they refuse to protect the slave interest, together. Dedicate a State to slave labour, the Southern planters will refuse to protect and northern emigration, guided by the sure manufactures ; and the abandonment of slavehand of self-preservation, will shun it as it ry will be revenged by the proclamation would the valley of the upas-tree. Having of free-trade. At present one set of vicious shut the gates of Kansas and the other future and impolitic measures or regulations is states against northern emigration by mak- kept up by way of compensation for another, ing them slave states, whither will you and the paramount considerations of self-inturn this immense empire-building human terest, well or ill understood, bid fair for stream? Theory and experience both de some time to prolong both. That slavery monstrate that no temptation of natural ad- should be actually voted illegal, without vantages or low prices will induce it to enter separation or civil war, is hardly to be ana slave state."

ticipated; and much as we may regret or The logical corollary to this indisputable reprobaté the tone assumed by the now truth is, that the internal increase of wealth dominant faction, we cease to wonder at it and population must be in favour of the when we reflect that their lives and properAbolitionists, and that all the future Chica- ty are imperilled by every fresh appeal or gos will throw their weight into the scale demonstration of the Abolitionists. News against the hitherto triumphant and domi- arrives as we write that formidable conneering policy of the South. The slavehold-spiracies have been recently formed amongst ing interest can only maintain its position the slaves of several districts, and that fresh by the annexation of new states lying in laws have been passed for subduing them, southern latitudes; and for this reason their and keeping them, in point of knowledge, as continued predominance will infallibly be much as possible on the level of the brutes found synonymous with an aggressive and that perish. From all we read or hear, it seems clear that things have not changed or instruction from what they see and hear for the better since Mr. Tocqueville thus amongst foreigners. Mrs. Stowe, with her spoke of the impending struggle between mind full of her own subject, complains that the races :-" The danger, more or less dis- their interested or prejudiced support of slatant, but inevitable, of a struggle between very at home has given them a perverted the white and black population of the South taste for oppression abroad. She denounces of the Union, is unceasingly present, like a "young America ” as the habitual partisan painful dream, to the imagination of the of the arch-enemy of French freedom, and Americans. The inhabitants of the North exclaims, " Thus from the plague spot at her converse daily about these perils, although heart has America become the propagandist directly they have nothing to fear. They of despotism in Europe." seek in vain for the means of conjuring away But, we say with Mr. Senior, our own the evils they foresee. In the States of the experience does not enable us to confirm South they are silent; the future is never Mrs. Stowe. We may have heard “young mentioned to strangers; they shun coming America” express astonishment, mingled to an explanation even with their friends; with something like contempt, at the blindeach hides it, so to speak, from himself

. ness with which contending factions paved The silence of the South has something in it the way for the iron heel that was to tram. more appalling than the noisy fears of the ple down all of them, or the tameness with North."

which Frenchmen submit to political nonenIf the blacks were emancipated, what tities, or the complacency with which many would they do, or what would become of of them hug themselves on their good for. them? This is a question which the Abo- tune in having got a government of Foulds, litionists have hitherto failed to answer sat Walewskis, Billaults, and Persignys to take isfactorily; yet it is one to which every care of them. But the élite of the Amerithoughtful moralist or philanthropist, as well cans settled in Paris are content to look on, as every prudent politician, will demand a like other rational observers, whilst the reply, before impoverishing a full third of country whose hospitality they accept is workthe leading families in the Union, and plac- ing out her destiny; and their aspirations for ing three millions of human beings in a her eventual restoration to her proper place condition of responsibiiity for which they amongst free nations are as ardent, if not have been advisedly disqualified from in- quite so loudly or so indiscreetly uttered, as fancy.

Mrs. Stowe's. The object of this Article, however, is not What is far more difficult to excuse in to suggest caution or to give advice to their conduct is the fastidiousness which has American statesmen, but to describe and ex- led to their voluntary exile, their preference plain, for British readers, the present state of the polished circles of a European metroof feeling and opinion in the great federal polis to a sphere where-at some sacrifice Republic. With this view we have referred of comfort, it is true—they might apply to speeches and writings, as well as to their wealth and their acquirements to beneknown deeds and supposed views, by way ficial and patriotic uses. But their influence, of affording the most striking illustration of though greatly lessened by distance, is not the tone and manner in which measures and altogether lost upon their countrymen, who questions of paramount importance are de- are sensitively alive to European and cided and discussed amongst the most en- (above all) to French and English opinion. lightened people of the New World. The No one has enjoyed better opportunities of estimate would be incomplete without com- ascertaining to what extent the United States prising some account of the travelled or would be lowered in the scale of nations by travelling Americans, who crowd the hotels any of the irregular proceedings demanded of Germany, Switzerland, and Italy, and of him by the ultras of his party than Mr. occupy a prominent position in the society Buchanan, and he has obviously no inclinaof Paris. These differ widely from one an- tion to be hurried into the open defiance of other in breeding, fortune, habits, and modes international law, justice, and propriety, of thinking. They have been inaccurately which marked the turbulant close of his preset down as a class; and what may be true decessor's rule. He knows that we have, of many of them, is commonly untrue of the and can have, no well-founded alarm for majority. Their least prepossessing features Canada, which is well able to protect itself; and most unfavourable peculiarities are dis- and that our desire to retain a voice in played when they get together and take to Central American arrangements has no imboasting; and as they rarely speak plainly aginable connexion with projects of territoany language besides their own, no travel. rial aggrandizement. The renewal of diplolers (except the French) derive l ess profit matic relations by the nomination of so dis

tinguished and accomplished a representa- United States; and it would be with pecutive as Lord Napier, is a decisive proof of liar reference to internal discussions and difthe spirit in which American questions will ficulties that our Transatlantic brethren, be discussed on our part. Despite, then, of when they boast of their growing prosperity, the Ostend Manifesto and electioneering nnight be addressed :-“ Fortunate men, pledges, there seems little reason to fear any you have lived to see it. Fortunatė, indeed, aggressive movement which should practical. if you live to see nothing to vary the prosly interrupt the commercial and friendly in- pect and cloud the setting of your day!" tercourse between Great Britain and the


In our last Number, (Art. VII., Cockburn's Memorials, pp. 138,) in the passage referring to Lord Jeffrey's change of feeling towards Christianity, the following sentence occurs :

_ In Cockburn's hands the materials of explanation were placed, which he had no right to keep back.” In that sentence we alluded to information regarding certain circumstances in Lord Jeffrey's history, which indicate that, in the closing years of his life, he was led to take a deep interest in Christianity. These circumstances were known to not a few before the “Life of Jeffrey” was published; and we were led to suppose, that documentary information regarding them was placed before his biographer. "In this we now find that we have been mistaken; there being no evidence that the materials we referred to were placed in his hands, or that their existence was known to him. At the same time, we must express our great regret, that facts of so much moment in their bearing on Lord Jeffrey's history, were either unknown to his biographer, or, if within his knowledge, were regarded as unworthy of notice.

« PoprzedniaDalej »