Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

their masters, from the impossibility of pro- for hire, whose services can be relied upon curing free labourers to perform the work with certainty, at any particular period, to in which the slaves are now employed. perform any given work; and the natural This would probably be the argument of a and necessary result has been, that the culslave-holder, conscious in some degree of tivation of all articles which require the the injustice of slavery, but attempting its union of many hands at any particular defence upon the ground of expediency. period, or for a continuance, is confined Mr. Achille Murat would probably give a almost entirely to the slave-states. This different reason, and appeal to the original fact, of the non-existence in America, of a principles upon which society is framed to labouring class has been frequently noticed, justify a conduct which is opposed to every and has been referred by different writers to principle recognized by civilized man. - almost as many different causes: by one, to With him and his arguments we shall not, how. the influence of democratic institutions ; by ever, here trouble ourselves.* But is there any another, to the want of an established foundation for the argument we have above church; by another, again, to the absence supposed: and if so, how are we to account of any such feeling as loyalty. By almost for the apparent anomaly ? We believe every one, to causes either wholly unconthe argument to be well founded, and will, nected with, or inadequate to the effect. It as a necessary prelude to any just concep- is only within a very few years, that what tions of the prospects of slavery in the appears to us to be the cause of this other. United States, offer some thoughts for the wise inexplicable circumstance, has been purpose of explaining how it has arisen.

announced,- the facility with which land The chief productions of the slave-states may be acquired by every free member of of America, and indeed the chief export- the States, and the constant tendency, thus able productions of the Union, are cotton, created, for every one to withdraw himself rice, and tobacco. The cultivation of these from the class of labourers, and to become articles, and more especially of the two a landholder. In this circumstance, when former, requires the united labours of many traced out to its consequences, will be found persons for a continued period, and, in pár- an explanation of almost all those pecuticular, that at the time in which they are liarities in the social condition of Amegathered, the cultivator should be able to rica, which distinguish her from the free ensure the necessary supply of labourers. In states of antiquity, and the republics of the this respect they differ from corn, the chief middle ages, no less than from the aristoproduce of the free states, which, on the cratic land of her fathers. To this, among new lands of the Union, may be cultivated other results, it has been owing, that repubby comparatively few hands, and is, in fact, licanism has been disfigured by many very frequently raised and gathered by the unseemly exhibitions of violence ; that an proprietor of the soil, and his family, with- unnatural desire for an equality, which out any assistance from hired labourers. should rather abase the exalted than elevate The articles which we have mentioned the depressed, has arisen among them : and above, on the contrary, could scarcely be worst of all, that slavery has been rendered cultivated with any profit without the com- the chief stay of American wealth and bination of many persons at the same time civilization. on the same work. This combination can In order to ascertain how this last result never be obtained with certainty in any is produced, let us endeavour to trace what part of America but the slave-states, and would be the effects of emancipation, under there only through the medium of slavery. the most favourable circumstances, for the Whatever may be assigned as the reason, happiness of the negroes and the security there can be no doubt of the fact, that in of their masters. Let us imagine that by the States there is no class of field-labourers education the former had been raised to a

level with the free inhabitants of the States

in intellect and industry ;-that they were * See the book of this gentleman on America, prepared at once to take their place as in which he attempts to place the right which the whites have to their slaves, upon the same ground

citizens and workmen, on a level with their as that which man may have to the service of the present superiors. It is obvious that the brutes, namely, superior force and skill; forgetting, apparently, that the negro being a man, is capable effects of this would be same as would be of becoming a member of the state, and is entitled produced by the creation of an equivalent to the protection of the laws, or, if not, that then number of whites, who should have no any person stronger and wiser than Mr. Achille Murat would be justified in reducing him to sla

other means of procuring subsistence, but very, and calling upon his fellows to punish any by the produce of their labour. Upon this attempt which the latter might make to recover his freedom. If Mr. Murat be right, there is no law but

supposition, there would be no difficulty that of the strongest.

from any imagined unwillingness or incom

sumers.

petency to work, arising either from an and they themselves would sink to the conindifference to comforts, or a want of the dition to which the negroes would have necessary powers of mind, and habits of raised themselves; nay, far lower for the action. The Americans would thus have existence of slavery has destroyed among converted two millions of enemies into them those qualities which we have supfriends and fellow-citizens ; would have posed the negro to possess. But this is obtained willing and efficient, instead of only a portion of the result.—Considerably insubordinate and careless workmen, and more than one-half of the exports of the would thus so far have contributed to the Union is the produce of the slave-states, wealth and strength of the Union. This is and it is, of course, by this, that more than the bright side of the picture, and this one-half of their imports is purchased. To would, undoubtedly, be the immediate this extent, then, would the commerce of result. But let us look a little farther. Let the Americans be reduced, and the employus suppose a few years to have elapsed, ment for their merchants and seamen be and then view their condition. The price diminished by emancipation. But even of waste land in America is five shillings this is not the whole. The greater part of per acre, and the ordinary rate of wages the surplus food raised in the free states is from four to six shillings a day. With employed in feeding the population of the these wages, and the low price of provisions slave states, or the manufacturers of whose in that country, a labourer can, in three goods the slave states are considerable conyears, without any perceptible self-denial

But when the state which we save the price of one hundred acres of land. have anticipated had arrived, the first care We have supposed in the negro the exist- of every holder of land would be to raise ence of the qualities which would enable food, and manufacture his own clothing, as him to save the requisite sum, and, as he he could not then raise any of the articles would be susceptible of the same influences with which food and manufactures are now as the whites, we may presume that his purchased. To this extent, therefore, would conduct, in similar circumstances, would the inarkets, and consequently the industry, be the same as theirs. He would then of the free states, be lessened, and their save from his wages the necessary amount, comforts reduced. would purchase with his savings a small There are two objections which may be block of land ; and there he would settle urged to this statement.—One to the fact, himself, to derive his subsistence from the and the other to the argument, which we labour of himself and his family; directed might be supposed to have intended to to the production of such articles as can be involve in it. The former would be,raised with the greatest facility, and by the That if, as we have assumed, it were for least expenditure of labour. Instead of the general good, that the negroes should, forming one of a number of labourers, after their emancipation continue to comwhose combined efforts were directed to bine their labour, they would, under the the production of one article which might circumstances of intelligence supposed, actube exchanged for every article of necessity ally so continue. And the latter, that if they or desire; he wonld be a solitary individual, should not, this can form no argument labouring by himself to produce as many against their emancipation.

With regard articles as possible, in order to compensate to the latter,-it is at once conceded, that for his inability to raise a sufficient quantity these circumstances form no valid objection of exchangeable produce to procure these against the justice of their claim to freearticles from others. But when this time dom ; nor could we be ever for a moment had arrived, when the whole negro popu- supposed to have urged them with this lation had worked out their independence : view; but, upon the probability of this when they had changed, we will not say, claim being allowed, it does exercise a most raised their condition from labourers for important influence, and it should therehire to labourers on their own property, fore, in any practical inquiry, occupy a prowhat would be the condition of their pre- minent place.

The former demands a sent employers ? The whole of the fixed mere detailed investigation, as it does at capital which they may possess in buildings first sight appear to offer a complete answer and machinery of every description, for to all the difficulties which we have supthe purpose of clearing the cotton, or pre- posed the low price of land to throw in the paring it for market, and for all the various

way

of emancipation. operations performed on the articles now We may first observe, that the only raised, in order to prepare them for expor- question which can arise is the expediency tation, would be useless : their property in of procuring the combination of labour land would proportionably fall in value,

There can be no doubt of the fact.

ing it.

while the present price of land continues, favourable to its successful issue would be, it can be obtained only by means of slavery. in fact, to remove the chief barrier which Of this the present condition of the free the institutions of America present, to that states of the Union is an immediate and tendency to dispersion, and consequently to direct proof. Among them, no extended barbarism, created by the low price of land. combination of labour for agricultural ope- If full scope were given to this tendency, it ration can be obtained. Among them, would probably result in the semi-barbarism therefore, none of the articles which require of the greater portion of the nation. It may such combination can be raised. If this seem to many that we are here giving a were not the case, why do they not, by very undue magnitude to the effects of a means of the superior advantages of free matter apparently so trivial as the low Jabour, cultivate some of the articles to price of waste land; but if any one will which' we have referred. Their soil and attempt to trace out its consequences, he climate are fitted for rice and tobacco, and probably will not find they have been at in some cases for cotton,—but none of all exaggerated. The first result is, that these are raised. Every one, on the con- every one may in the course of a very short trary, prefer being the owner of a small time become a land-holder; and this, as the quantity of land, of which he cultivates, first result, has been frequently cited as one perhaps a tenth, or even a less proportion; of the blessings of America, by those who ihough hy this he probably obtains a smaller do not look beyond the surface. That the amount of the comforts and conveniences condition of an American is in this respect, of life, than he might do if a labourer for better than that of an English labourer, hire. We have here, therefore, a proof of under our present prohibitory system, there the fact which we have supposed; the only can be no doubt; but we have to attend to question consequently is, whether this state his actual, not to his comparative position. of things may not be more advantageous When he has become a land-holder, he can and whether this be not the fact proved by find no labourer to work for him. and he is the very conduct of the Americans in adopt- consequently compelled to do every thing

for himself. The natural result of this is, And this inquiry is by no means idle or that every thing is imperfectly done. His superfluous. If there be really any diffi- farm is tilled in the most slovenly manner. culty in the way of the emancipation of the His house is probably inferior to that of an negroes, arising from any peculiarity in the English labourer; the amount of comforts social policy of the Americans ; the cause which he is able to command, is less than of freedom can never be advanced by treat- may be enjoyed by an English artisan of ing the matter as though no such difficulty tolerable skill; and in fact, he is a loser in existed. Our wisest plan will be to give almost every respect, except that he gratifies every obstacle its full weight, that thus we his love of independence, enjoys the belief may best proportion our means to the end that he has no superior, and has the consought. Now, looking at the dependence sciousness that his time is his own, and that of the free states of America upon the exist- his labour is employed upon his own proence of slavery, for the greater portion of perty. This statement, strictly true their commerce, and for a market for their regards the new settlements, has a great manufacturing and agricultural productions, degree of trnth, even in reference to the there appears no doubt that they would be oldest and most thickly peopled states. It to a certain extent injured by emancipation. may be doubled if such a state be favourAnd their loss would be uncompensated, as able to the happiness of the individual. these advantages are enjoyed, without the There can be no doubt that it is unfavourexistence among them of that moral taint able to the advancement of the commuwhich always accompanies slavery, and nity. In all countries, the measure of undoubtedly forms a great deduction from prosperity will be the extent to which the any benefits which it produces to the slave- bulk of the people enjoy the comforts of holders themselves. That the slave-holders life, and the leisure and inclination for would be injured we have before shewn. mental culture. The results of the AmeIt must be remembered, that the persons rican system has been the diminution of who at present will decide the question of both of these. Labour produces less, and emancipation, are the whites; and it is, at the same time engrosses the mind to the therefore, to the influences which it would exclusion of other ideas. exert upon them, that we must confine our- duces less, both because each individual, selves, in considering the probability of its from the multiplicity of his pursuits, is being conceded. The emancipation of the unable to acquire the highest degree of skill negroes, under the circumstances most in any one; and because it is exerted

[ocr errors]

as

Labour pro

singly instead of in concert, which is always kind, and worse in degree, than that of the the least profitable way of employing it. It feudal system of the middle ages. The is in this way that the low price of land in negroes have the same right to be considered America, by producing a certain amount of as citizens, and to enjoy the privileges which dispersion, has diminished the national this would confer, as any inhabitant of the wealth ; and it is equally easy to shew the land; and unless this be speedily conceded way in which it has operated upon the to them, Americans will too late discover mental character of the people. An indi- that they have been accumulating for their dual who is generally employed in one posterity a fearful amount of retribution. pursuit, will, if educated, turn to subjects of The negroes in the slave states are increasgeneral interest as a relaxation, and cul- ing more rapidly than their masters, and tivate them for the relief they afford. But they are thus every day bringing nearer the any one whose mind is disturbed by a mul- time when the question of their continued tiplicity of pursuits, each of which, from his slavery must be brought to the test of a imperfect acquaintance with it, demands servile war. If, in such a war, the contest the whole of his powers, would require as should be between them and the whole his relaxation the absence of all thought. force of the Union, the result must be their But in addition to this, the fact that all his re-subjection; but if between them and their occupations have immediate reference to

masters only, it is probable they would be himself, to his own comfort and advance the conquerors. In either case, however, ment, will lead greatly to narrow the range of the contest would be most fearful, and in his sympathies. He will be acute, but sel- all probability the former wrongs of the fish; not easily over-reached in a bargain, but negroes would be effaced by the extent of feeling little scruple at over-reaching others. their revenge. They have now no moral While, for general literature, and all arts which instruction, and there would then be no have not an immediate and obvious bearing moral restraint. With them now, the chaupon his own interest, he will feel, not rities of life, the ties of affection and relaperhaps contempt, but indifference. This

tionship, are mere names, and they would is now the general character of the free inha- then have none of those feelings which so bitants of America. Eager, and certainly a often check man from inflicting upon little unscrupulous, in the pursuit of wealth ; another a misery which he would himself careless of every thing that does not appeal shrink from enduring. Nor have they any to their vanity, or minister to their personal of that religious instruction which gratification ; skilful to a certain extent in own colonies has restrained the negroes, many things, but to the highest degree, in during their temporary successes,

from few or none; and its cause appears to us inflicting upon their masters the evils which to be the isolation produced by the low they had themselves suffered. All, thereprice of land. We have adverted to the fore, that a hatred springing from a sense of extent to which slavery prevents the full the accumulated wrongs of centuries could development of these tendencies, and to produce in beings whose intellect and feelthis extent the free states in America, have, ings are alike without one restraining prin. if they refuse to alter this part of their ciple, would be the result of the first sucpolicy, a direct interest in its continuance; cessful attempt of the American negroes to and, as they have never beer accus of obtain their freedom. But this is a result neglecting their interest, so far as they under- which every lover of human nature would stand it, the prospect of the extinction of deprecate, as much for the sake of the slave slavery among them appears still distant. as of his master; and it, therefore, becomes

We have thus endeavoured rather to in- every one who is interested in the terminadicate, than develop fully the principles to tion of slavery in the United States, to which we have adverted. Until they are address himself to a consideration of the recognised and acted upon by the Ame- means by which it may be peaceably ricans themselves, there appears to us little effected. It is clear that any alteration in hope of their voluntarily putting an end to the mode of disposing of waste land, which slavery. To this therefore should, we think, should have the effect of creating a class of be directed the efforts of the friends of agricultural labourers, would be advantaemancipation in England, and of those geous to America; and it would be the Americans who wish to free their country first, and an effectual blow to the system of from its worst social crime: for a crime it slavery. If this were done,“if the Ameis, in every sense of the word. It is a volun- rican capitalist could with certainty obtain tary and intentional sacrifice of the interests the free labour requisite for the employment of one portion of the community, to those of his capital,—the competition thus introof another. It is a tyranny the same in duced must lead certainly, though gri 20. SERIES, NO. 37,- VOL. IV,

181.-VOL. X

our

D

RECOLLECTIONS OF A MISSIONARY.

NO. XI.

IN THE GREAT WORK.

dually, to the extinction of slavery. If, sion; those, by science, literature and however, no alteration be made in this philosophy, may prepare the way of the respect; then, unless from the operation of Lord among more polished heathens. One external force, or from the revolt of the denomination of Christians may think it slaves themselves, there appears to us to be necessary to undermine pagan superstition no chance of emancipation, till the popu- by argument and reason; to shew its lation of America shall have advanced to absurdity, uncover its nakedness, and the shores of the Pacific, and fertile land expose its deformity. Some may imagine can be no longer obtained on the same that the simple story of the cross, and the terms as at present.

love of God in Christ, affectionately exhibited, will do the deed. There are who say, that the arts of civilized life should be

taught simultaneously with the gospel.MISSIONARIES OF DIFFERENT DENOMINATIONS :

God may bless all these means. The misTHEIR EXCELLENCES, ADAPTATIONS, AND USE sionary who translates, may be a pioneer

to him who preaches. In this great work I am not, in the following notices, going to there are diversities of operations, but one make any unkind remarks on my brethren, Spirit. The various gifts bestowed upon of other denominations. Nor shall I set up each, may be so tempered by the art of any rivalry among Christian missionaries, or God, that one grand result shall grow out create any invidious distinctions among good of their combinations. is need of men employed in promoting the kingdom of all, work for all, and reward for eachChrist in foreign parts. God forbid that I that is faithful unto death. In the wide should exalt one at the expense of another ; ocean of the world, there is ample seaor, shade the excellences of this, to make a room : none need run foul of the other; bright fore-ground for that. Truth and they may hail each other in passing, and candour compel me to impartiality; and I proceed on their voyage. They may corshall take for my motlo, “ In necessary rect each other's longitude, exchange civithings, let there be unity; in things not lities, and dash away in their circumnavinecessary, liberty; in all things, cha- gation of charity. The vast field demands rity.Christian missions have the same the help of all hands, the knowledge of all object the conversion of the heathen heads, and the combined zeal of all friends world. This lies near the hearts of all to truth. The heathen world may defy good men. They may have different the solitary acts of a party, but it is vulnerviews, but their end is the same.

able to the combined efforts of the whole almost infinite variety of talent, they may church. While Buonaparte fought singleall be united in executing the same plan. handed with the nations of the continent, The Moravian may prepare the ground; he destroyed them one after another ; but the Calvinist may lay the foundation; the when the combined armies of all Europe Wesleyan build upon it gold, silver, and fell upon him, the mighty fell, and the precious stones. The Churchman may, weapons of war perished. The Christian upon all the glory, add the defence of world has never yet risen in the grandeur of righteous laws; and the great body of its united zeal and strength to save the Christians may supply materials for the heathen. Christian zeal is yet far below building of the grand missionary temple. the blood-heat of Christ; in most churches “ And who is willing this day to consecrate it is below zero; and nothing but the finger his service to the Lord ?"

of God's Spirit, put upon the ball of the In this stupendous undertaking, as there thermometer, will ever raise it to the boilis need of the combined labours of all, ing point of millennial ardour. there is scope for the varied talents of each. For ages, the christian world has been so A mission to Hindostan requires superior taken up with its domestic broils, that it talent to one sent among the Hottentots. has looked with neither heart nor hope on The Indians in North America are many the forlorn heathen. This crusade of love degrees of intellect above the negroes; and could not be undertaken while there were men sent to Ceylon, China, or the Burman feuds and squabbles at home; now, howempire, should excel in talent those sent ever, it is time to bury the hatchet under to Labradore, Madagascar, or the West the olive-tree of peace. Let not Ephraim Indies: these should have learning, polish, vex Judah, nor Judah vex Ephraim; they and address ; those, boldness, plainness, are brothers. Let the family of God be and zeal, with the language of the natives reconciled, an enemy is at the gate. Let grafted upon their mother-tongue: these may each bring his stone, and the temple shall do miracles in the way of positive conver- be built even in troublous times.

With an

66 The

« AnteriorContinuar »