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the civilisation which you boast of as the privilege of the British labourer, and a freedom from care and lightness of heart which he has not, and cannot have."
Much of this, I believe, is true; though, assuredly, not without many grievous exceptions. However, we may so far accept it as to believe him generally right. In order to answer it, we must take rather higher ground. “You have proved your point,” we may say, “as far as you go : but you must not push your argument too far. Gaiety and light-heartedness are good things, but they are not the best. I do not speak from a religious point of view; for in that light I fancy you would have still something to say. But, putting that aside for the present, does it seem to you that the content and freedom from care which you claim for your negroes is the highest form of happiness? Do you find that the persons or the nations who are most lively, who have most animal spirits, and who most exhibit them, stand the highest in the scale ? Compare French and English society in the middle of the eighteenth century. Which was the gayest, and which had the most sterling worth? Or compare the Englishman and the Irishman of the present day; or, in order not to get complicated with the question of race, compare Paddy with his brother Celt, the Scotch Highlander. Or the Tuscan and the Neapolitan. Finally, to take a case which is at the root of all, compare the happiness of the child with that of the man. We hear endless commonplaces about the happiness of children. Would any man who had not had misery enough to make him desperate, like to have his mind taken away, and become a baby again? They say that the inmates of convents have very high spirits, and great hilarity. Some people think it is reaction from misery. I know that you, being a Louisianian Roman Catholic, do not think so. But I ask you whether you would wish your daughter, who is just going to come out, and looks forward to doing so, to become a nun? She will probably marry some day, and is likely to have a good deal of trouble and care before she dies. She might avoid this by going into a convent. Do you wish her to do so ?”
I shall be told that these arguments do not meet the case of slavery particularly, and that they would be equally applicable as addressed to the sovereigns of countries where the system is despotic. And I admit this. The nations of the world, I think, stand on different steps of the ladder which mounts up from the lowest barbarism to the highest privileges of civilisation, or rather I should say the hill, on which they are ranged at different heights, and on some sides of which the ascent is shorter and easier than it is on others. The lowest zone of the hill is barbarism. Even in that there are different altitudes, from the ancient Teutons or the modern Afghans down to the inhabitants of the Andaman Isles. The next zone is that of personal servitude or slavery. Then comes prædial servitude or serfdom. Then personal freedom, but political servitude, or despotism. Then freedom, both personal and political ; and finally, the right to take part in the government. The lines which separate these zones from one another are, if I may so express myself, extremely wavy and irregular; so that individuals, or even large bodies of men, in any of the lower zones may be actually further from the base of the hill, and nearer its top, than others who belong to higher zones. Still the general effect remains. I think it is undoubtedly the duty of those who have it in their power, to do their best to raise their fellow-mortals from lower zones to higher ones. The present Emperor of Russia is covering himself with honour by his endeavours to raise the serfs to freemen; and Duke Ernest of Saxe-Coburg is trying to perform the same work on a higher stage. But I do not know that if they had not taken the course they have done, they ought to have been very violently abused; and, on the same principle, one does not see why slaveowners should be so for not emancipating. It is true, that the lower the zone the stronger is the
obligation to raise those who are in it. It would be absurd to contend that sovereigns, generally, ought to descend from their place in order to place themselves on a level with their subjects, like the ancient despot of the time of the Achaian League; or that England ought at once to extend the franchise, whether the classes who are to get it want it or not. The difference between these cases and that of the slave-owner is only one of degree. And both with regard to the electoral franchise and to slave emancipation, it may be possible to advance too hurriedly; and in that case, our philanthropy does more harm than good. We are said (I do not wish to express any opinion) to have made mistakes in both ways—in the first, in the Ionian, in the second, in the West Indian Islands.
“But,” says the emancipationist, "do you mean that as it is the duty of those who can do so to raise their fellows from lower levels to higher, and the lower the level the stronger the obligation-do you mean that those who kidnap African savages to sell them as slaves are to be regarded as public benefactors? Your argument looks rather like it." The retort is a telling one. But the answer is not far to seek. No. The kidnappers have no business to do it, even if they were to do it on the purest principles of philanthropy, and not to fill their own pockets, and if the middle passage was the most charming of all kinds of locomotion. The same rule applies all the way up the hill. Take cases from the other zones. Lydiadas was a patriot and a hero for laying down his sovereignty, believing, as he did, that his subjects were worthy of his act; but I do not know that Aratus would have been justified in making war against him to compel him to do so. Probably Aratus would have taken that course, but that is neither here nor there. And what should we say if a French army were to land for no other reason than to confer upon Englishmen the benefits of universal suffrage? A philanthropic kidnapper might be paralleled by President Lincoln, according to his own account of himself. As the case really stands, one might leave out the adjective. But I have a stronger argument yet. And that is, that slavery, though one way, is not the only way up the hill. There are other ways, and better ways. The Jesuit colonies were doing an immensity of good in civilising South America when they were knocked on the head by the jealousies of governments. And there are other ways besides. But slavery is the way by which civilisation must be brought to the blacks of the Confederacy. It is not the fault of their masters that such is the case. They did not seek the slaves, and, in fact, tried to keep them out. It is the fault of the European