BEING A SERIES OF
PRACTICAL & POLITICAL:
In Sixty-One Numbers.
Second Edition….Revised and Enlarged.
By COL. JOHN TAYLOR,
OF CAROLINE COUNTY, VIRGINIA.
PRINTED AND PUBLISHED
By J. M. CARTER.
Price $1:25, in boards.
Perhaps this subject ought to have preceded that of manuring, as it is idle even to think of a good system of agriculture in any point of view, if the labor on which it depends is convulsed by infusion & the most inimical to its utility; and if those who direct it, are to live in a constant dread of its loss, and a doubt of their own safety. Such a state of uncertainty is painful to the parties, unfriendly to improvement, and productive of extravagance and idleness in all their varieties. Yet those who keep it alive, persuade themselves that they are complying with the principles of religion, patriotism and morality. Into such fatal errors is human nature liable to fall, by its deliriums for acquiring unattainable perfection,
One would think that the circles of ethics and logic could not furnish less doubtful questions than these. Were the whites of St. Domingo morally bound to bring on themselves the massacre produced by the liberation of their slaves? Is such a sacrifice of freemen to make freemen of slaves, virtuous or wicked ? Will it advance or destroy the principles of morality, religion and civil liberty? Is it wise or foolish?
The history of parties in its utmost malignity is but a faint mirror for reflecting the consequences of a white and a black party. If badges and names have been able to maddenmen in all ages, up to robbery and murder in their most atrocious forms, no doubt can exist of the consequences of placing two nations of distinct colors and features on the same theatre, to contend, not about sounds and signs, but for wealth and power.
And yet an amiable and peaceable religious sect, have been long laboring with some success, to plunge three-fourths of the union into a civil war of a complexion so inveterate, as to admit of no issue, but the extermination of one entire party. Suppose the extermination shall fall on the blacks, the ferocity acquired by the white & during the contest, and the destruction of the labor in three fourths of the union, will not endow the remaining fourth with wealth or happiness. If the whites should be the victims of this enthusiastic philanthropy, and our northern brethren should succeed in overwhelming the southern states with the negro patriotism and civilization, what will they have done for the benefit of the liberty, virtue or happiness of mankind ? The French revolution, bottomed upon as correct abstract principles and sounder practical hopes, turned out to be a foolish and mischievous speculation; what then can be expected from making republicans of negro slaves, and conquerors of ignorant infuriated barbarians? What can those who are doing the greatest mischiefs from the best motives, to their fellow-citizens, to themselves and to their country, expect from such preachers of the Gospel, such champions of liberty, and such neighboring possessors of a territory larger than their own.
But what will not enthusiasm attempt? It at tempted to make freemen of the people ofFrance; the experiment pronounced that they were incapable of liberty. It attempted to compound a free nation of black and white people in St. Domingo. The experiment pronounced that one color must perish. And now Tendered blinder by experience, it proposes to renew the last experiment, though it impressed truth by sanctions of inconceivable horror; and again to create a body politic, as monstrous and unnatural as a mongrel half white man and half negro.
Do these hasty, or in the language of exact truth, fanatic philosophers, patriots or Christians, suppose that the negroes could be made free, and yet kept from property and equal civil rights; or that both or either of these avenues to power could be opened to them, and yet that some precept or incantation could prevent their entrance?
As rivals for rule with the whites, the collision would be immediate, and the catastrophe speedy. Divested of equal civil rights and wealth to prevent this rivalship, but endowed with personal liberty, they would constitute the most complete instrument for invasion or ambition, hitherto forged throughout the entire circle of human folly.
For what virtuous purpose are the southern runaway negroes countenanced in the northern states? Do these states wish the southern to try the St. Domingo experiment? If not, why do they keep alive the St. Domingo spirit? War is the match which will in the course of time be put to such a spirit, and an explosion might follow, which would shake our nation from the centre to its extremities. Is it humanity, wisdom or religion, or some adversary of all three, which prepares the stock of combustibles for this explosion?Suppose France was about to invade the United
States, and should ask congress previously to admit a million of her most desperate people into the southern states, ready to join and aid her armies; could the northern members of the union find any motive drawn from policy, religion, morality or self-interest, for agreeing to the proposal? And yet in case of such an invasion, a million of negroes, either slaves, but artificially filled with a violent impatience or their condition, and deadly hatred of their masters; or free-men, but excluded from wealth and power, would hardly be less ferocious, merciless or dangerous, than a million of desperate French people.
A policy which weakens or renders incapable of self-defence at least three-fourths of the union, must also be excessively injurious to the remaining fourth, whose wealth and security must increase or diminish by increasing or diminishing the wealth and security of the larger portion. Nor does the least present gain, afford to the northern states a temptation for incurring so dreadful an evil. Their manners will neither be improved, nor their happiness advanced, by sprinkling their cities with a yearly emigration of thieves, murderers and villains of every degree, though recommended by the training of slavery, a black skin, a woolly head, and an African contour.
And yet even the northern newspapers are continually dealing out fraternity to this race and to this moral character, and opprobrium to their white masters, with as little justice in the last case, as taste in the first. What had the present generation to do with the dilemma in which it is involved? How few even of its ancestors were concerned in stealingand transporting negroes from Africa? If some remnants of such monsters exist, they are not to be found in the southern quarters of the union. And if self-preservation shall force the slave-holders into stricter measures of precaution than they have hitherto adopted, those who shall have driven them into these measures, by continually exciting their negroes to cut their throats, will accuse little reason, as the prosecutor of the slave trade accuses them of negro stealing.
The fact is, that negro slavery is an evil which the United States must look in the face. To whine over it is cowardly; to aggravate it, criminal; and to forbear to alleviate it, because it cannot be wholly cured, foolish. Rewards and punishments, the sanctions of the best government, and the origin·of love and fear, are rendered useless by the ideas excited in the French revolution ; by the example of St. Domingo; by the lure of free negroes mingled with slaves; and by the reproaches to masters and sympathies for slaves, breathed forth from the northern states. Sympathies, such as if the negroes should transfer their affection from their own species to the baboons. Under impressions derived from such sources, the justest punishment will be felt as the infliction or tyranny, and the most liberal rewards, as a niggardly portion of greater rights. For where will the rights of black sansculottes stop?
Such a state or things is the most unfavorable imaginable to the happiness of both master and slave. It tends to dimmish the humanity of one class, and increase the malignity of the other, and in contemplating its utter destitution of good, our admiration is equally excited, by the error of those who produce, and the folly of those who suffer it.