« AnteriorContinuar »
in the Southern States, stipulating that that representation should not be changed until 1808, and thereafter only by a vote of three-fourths of all the States. That provision has been the groundwork of that constant Northern aggression upon Southern interests, which has so successfully gained on the Federal power until now it imagines the desired three-fourths is within its reach, when the South, with its interests, will be at the feet of the abolitionists. The South has stood steadily on its defence, but while the circle has narrowed in upon it the North has not ceased to clamour against Southern aggression.
No sooner had the constitution been adopted, however, than the annexation of Louisiana became a necessity, in order to give an outlet to the sea for the produce of the West, but notwithstanding the great advantage which the annexation was to confer upon Massachusetts, she opposed it to the point of threatening to dissolve the Union if it was carried out. This, after the great rebellion of Shay, within her borders, was the first disunion threat, and the motive was fear of the political increase of Southern strength. Those fears were like all party pretences, shortsighted, since that territory has given more free than slave States to the Union. This threat of disunion was made while yet Massachusetts was engaged in
the slave trade, that the State had voted to prolong to 1808. The same cry was renewed in respect to Florida, and again, with greater violence, in the case of Missouri; to be again revived in respect of Texas; and once more, with circumstances of greater atrocity, in the case of Kansas. It is remarkable that while free States come in without any great struggle on the part of the South, the safety of which is threatened by each such accession, the admission of slave States is the signal of so much strife, and this resistance to a manifest right of the South is denounced as “ Southern aggression."
The gradual abolition of slavery in the old Northern States and the rapidity with which eastern capital, following migration, has settled the Western States, has given a large preponderance to the free interest in the national councils. Of the twenty-six senators that sat in the first Congress, all represented a slave interest, more or less. With the States and territories now knocking for admission, there are seventy-two senators, of whom thirty-two only represent the slave interest; that interest from being “ an unit” in the Senate, has sunk to a minority of four, and yet the majority do not cease to complain of Southern “ aggression.” With this rapid decline in the Southern vote in the great “ Conservative Body" of the Senate, the representation in the lower house has fallen to one-third. How long will it be before the desired three-fourths vote, for which a large party pant, will have been obtained, and when obtained what will have become of those Southern rights which are even now denied by party leaders to be any rights at all? In the last thirty years eleven free States have been prepared for the Union; a similar progress in the next thirty years and the South will have fallen into that constitutional minority which may deprive it of all reserved rights. This circle is closing rapidly in upon it, amid a continually rising cry of abolition, pointed by bloody inroads of armed men. This is called Southern “aggression."
The census of 1850 gave the nativities of the wbite population. The emigrants and their descendants number 5,000,000 souls, or one-fifth of the entire white population, and these bave swollen the free State representation; while the population of the South, as well black as white, has progressed only by natural means. It is to be borne in mind, also, that the very prosperity of the South, growing out of large crops, and higher prices for it, operates against the political extension of the section, since it tends powerfully to concentrate the population. We shall show, under the head of cotton culture, the remarkable extension which took place during the speculative excitement, from 1830 to 1840, in the black population. The fertile lands of the great valley were then discovered to bear more cotton at less price than the Atlantic States, and that migration of blacks took place which produced so manifest a change in the slave population in the several States by the census of 1850. In the table of black population, of the blacks who left the Atlantic for the new States, a considerable number, when the disasters came on, were run to Texas; when that State was re-annexed, these slaves again appeared in the enumeration of 1850. The effects of that migration are very remarkable. In Delaware and Maryland the slave population fell from 106,286 in 1830, to 92,342 in 1840, a decline of 13,944 in addition to the natural increase. The free blacks in the same time increased 10,204. The census of 1850 gave a slight increase of slaves in that year. In the State of Virginia the slaves declined over 20,000 up to 1840, but recovered 23,000 up to 1850. In the nine years that have elapsed since the census, an immense addition has been made to the cotton crop, and also to its value. Although the crop doubled from 1830 to 1840, under the spur of the speculation of those years, it remained nearly stationary in the ten years up to 1850, since then it has again doubled; that is to say, the cotton raised in the five years ending with 1860 is 17,732,307 bales, and in the five years ending with 1850 there were raised 8,951,587, or 85,434 bales less than half, at the same time the price per pound at one time, in 1857, ranged 18 cents, Under such circumstances the value of cotton hands reached $2000; while they were nearly as valuable for sugar culture. It is obvious that, under such circumstances, no one can spare blacks for the settlement of new States. On the other hand, they are concentrated on the cotton lands of the old States with great rapidity, and the census of the next year will show the effects of those influences upon the local populations.
What then is to be done with them? for they exist, and we cannot blink the question. It is clear that simple manumission will not do, as the experiment has thoroughly failed. Whether a scale of fair wage for fair labour may ultimately be found seems but a philosopher's dream. Certainly, it is not likely to be realised by the present proceedings. We in England have suffered too much and too recently not to make the name of slave abhorent to every ear - but I should much like to know what the slaves think of it themselves. Certainly, their relative position in the North and South of the States tells