« AnteriorContinuar »
forced to write slowly and very little at a time. This is no excuse for inaccuracies, if there are any, or for defects of judgment, of which I am but too conscious. But it may serve to palliate the faults of unconnectedness and repetition. I have endeavoured to correct these faults on revision ; but I could not do so thoroughly without writing it all over again, and it hardly seemed to deserve that trouble.
The same cause will account for the inappropriateness of the appearance of this sketch at a time when there is such a widespread belief, on both sides of the Atlantic, that peace is not far distant. A good deal of the language in it may seem exaggerated and out of place at the present moment; but there was no idea of peace three months or even one month ago, and it must be more than three months since I began it.
NEWBATTLE ABBEY, DALKEITH,
Sept. 9, 1864.
THE RIGHT OF SECESSION.
PERHAPS there are still persons in this country who are under the impression that the cause of the war which is at present raging in America is the conscientious desire of the majority of the inhabitants of the United States to free their country from the stain of slavery; that the minority, alarmed lest their power of exercising wanton tyranny over the negroes should be taken away from them, have most unjustifiably rebelled ; and that the Federal Government, being naturally indignant at their attempt at rebellion, has exercised the power which it possesses under the Constitution to compel the slaveholders to return to their allegiance, in order that they may be forced to give up their infamous right of property in
human flesh.* Possibly, also, those who entertain these opinions may also believe that Congress has in America the same power that Parliament has with us; and that the States stand to the Central Government in the relation that our counties do." These views have been contradicted over and over again. But still they may have some weight with those who may perhaps take a superficial interest in the subject, without caring to go at all deeper into it."
Even in the case of such people, however, it seems hardly fair that they should sympathise with the North, as a matter of feeling, because slavery is allowed in the Confederacy. If Prussia were to
* This hypothesis, which I put as a possibility, has just been confirmed by a statment made on July 28 in the House of Commons by the member for Leicester, that “this was simply a question of the determined and continuous will of the North to put down slavery." He gives, at the same time, a very good measure of his temper and his knowledge, by going on to make the testy but irrelevant remark that a former speaker seemed to take his facts from Mr Spens (I suppose he meant Spence), and his principles from “Manhattan.” If Mr Lindsay does so, he must have a strange idea of the connection between principles and facts. He may or may not take his facts from Mr Spence, though it is difficult to say upon what, as far as the debate was concerned, Mr Taylor founded the assertion that he “seemed” to do so. But how upon Mr Spence's facts he can found “Manhattan's” principles is left to the imagination. It might as well be said of a zealous Presbyterian that he took his facts from Dr Cumming and his principles from Dr Newman. Probably the orator never troubled himself to inquire what “Manhattan's” principles were.