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physics, and political economy, that it diminishes the frequency and the horrors of war; that it makes the migratory man domestic, and the indolent man industrious, and should have been seasona bly applied to save the Pequots, the Mohawks, and the Cherokees, from extinction; and that it raises woman (listen, O ye fanatics, and be forever silent,) from the condition of a mere beast of burden, to her proper station, and endows her with grace: and accomplishments. The African slave-trade next comes under consideration: and here the ingenious author seems to think with Sir Roger De Coverly, that "much may be said on both sides;" though, as the revival of that trade under the sanc tion of the laws, would seriously interfere with the profits of the Virginia slave-breeders, he is on the whole not disposed to reverse the judgment which the conscience of the civilized world has pronounced upon this traffic. Next he undertakes to expose the fo tility of all possible plans for the abolition of slavery. Through this part of his book, which is by far the most considerable in extent and in ability, we have no time to trace the progress of his argument. One or two points, however, in that argument, must be mentioned, to illustrate the cold-bloodedness with which the subject is treated. He shows, that in Virginia the slaves are worth in market one hundred millions of dollars; and he infers, that this property, being nearly one third of all the property existing in that great State, would be annihilated by any scheme of abolition, leaving Virginia a desert. He shows, that negro slaves are the great staple of Virginia, inasmach as "upwards of six thousand are yearly exported to other States," so that the chivalrous commonwealth of Virginia, receives from the sale of human beings, born under its own motto of sic semper tyrannis, not less than $1,200,000 every year. In the professor's own words: "Virginia is in fact a negro-raising State for other States. She produces enough for her own supply, and six thousand for sale." He shows, furthermore, that so long as the planters of the more southern States can buy negroes from abroad at a cheaper rate than the cost of raising them at home, so long comparatively few slaves will be raised on those plantations; and so long the slave-holders in Virginia will be able to realize their millions by the exportation of negroes. "The slaves in Virginia," he says, "multiply more rapidly than in most of the southern States; the Virginians can raise cheaper than they can buy; in fact, it is one of their greatest sources of profit." He brings his work to a conclusion, by considering distinctly the alledged injustice and evils of slavery: and in refutation of the vulgar errors on this subject, he maintains, that slavery is not wrong in the abstract; that its moral effects are not pernicious, but, on the contrary, the more absolute the slavery, the more magnanimous will be the master, and the more con

tented and happy will be the slave; that slavery is a powerful promoter of the spirit of liberty; that there is no danger from plots and insurrections, but the more numerous and compact the population, the greater the safety; and finally, that the notorious and lamented decay of old Virginia is owing not to slavery, but to "the exactions of the federal government."

This pamphlet,-to the ability of which our rapid sketch has by no means done justice, for arguments in support of slavery must needs suffer by being condensed,-produced a powerful impression upon the State of Virginia. Nor can it be considered strange that such was the fact. Professor Dew himself remembered, and inadvertently quoted as a great truth, the saying of Hobbes "that men might easily be brought to deny, that things equal to the same thing are equal to each other, if their fancied interests were opposed in any way to the admission of this axiom." It was easy then to make the people of Virginia believe, that while their slaves were worth one hundred millions of dollars, and while the exportation of a part of the annual increase was bringing into the State one million two hundred thousand dollars yearly, slavery could not be so bad a thing as it had seemed under the excitement which followed the Southampton massacre. Accordingly, when the legislature came together again, and a whole year had passed without another insurrection, there seemed to be no occasion for any farther discussion; and Professor Dew's book was thenceforth considered to be perfectly unanswerable.


Since that time, defenses of slavery have been multiplied at the south. Formerly, southern men were generally in the habit of acknowledging, that slavery is in some sense an evil, and excused it by pleading the difficulties in the way of abolition. But now, they as generally take the ground, that the state of society in which the working class are held as slaves, is the beau ideal of a well-regulated community; that this institution is the nurse of patriotism, of refinement, of all heroic and generous sentiments; an excellent promoter of good morals, of public tranquillity and domestic happiness; and that all the religion which does not teach that God made negroes on purpose to be slaves, is sheer fanaticism. All the unqualified and shameless defenses of slavery that have been uttered at the south since 1832, seem to us to have been derived directly or indirectly from the great repository of doctrines and arguments found in Prof. Dew's "Review of the Debate in the Virginia Legislature." And that which first put the southern orators and essay writers upon this barbarian defense of one of the most barbarous institutions on earth, was not the anti-slavery agitation at the north, but rather that agitation so much nearer the seat of the evil, which ensued upon the Southampton massacre, VOL. VIII.


and which for one whole winter thundered in the capitol at Richmond.

Undoubtedly this now prevalent practice of defending slavery in the abstract, has been promoted, as Dr. Channing intimates, by the measures of the anti-slavery societies. Yet it is not to be imagined, that such arguments are designed exclusively or chiefly for northern readers. The design is to operate upon the southern public, to put down entirely those ideas of the insecurity, the im policy and the injustice of slavery, which so lately threatened the oldest and greatest of the slave States with abolition, and to aid in those political agitations to which we have already referred.

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"Perhaps something hast been lost to the cause of freedom and humanity.' Certainly the good cause hast lost ground within the last four years. Yet we enjoy the consolation of believing, that the evils which Dr. Channing deplores, and which are indeed to be lamented as great evils, will be only temporary, and under the benignant providence of him who can make the wrath of man to praise him, will be in the end productive of good. It is not to be expected that public sentiment, in respect to a subject so involved with innumerable interests and entangled with all the complica tions of prejudice and passion, can be reformed in the southern States without continued conflicts, and the liability to frequent reaction. Such a re-action we are just now witnessing. But that re-action will re-act again. Every high-wrought excitement, espe cially every excitement got up by extra agitation, is essentially transitory. And when the hour of this present excitement in the south shall have passed, there will be found men at the south, who will dare to think for themselves, and who, not having the fear of Lynch-law before their eyes, will dare to say, that an arrangement which puts one half of the population of a State under the most absolute despotism, leaving them without any legal protection for one of the rights of their human nature, and which does all that can be done to hinder them from outgrowing their original barbarism, or becoming in any manner capable of freedom,— is neither safe, nor politic, nor just. In other words, discussion, debate, free inquiry on the subject of slavery, now suppressed every where beyond the Potomac, will break out again. None can tell how near the occasion is, that shall put a new aspect upon all these discussions. Another massacre like that of Southampton might not do it. The burning of a city might not do it. But a reduction of the prices of cotton and sugar some twenty-five per cent. for two successive seasons, would operate resistlessly to enlighten public sentiment in all the slave-holding States; and at whatever time such an event may take place, the men will be found who, in the name of the commonwealth, and in the names of humanity and justice, will demand that something be done for


the removal of slavery. Nay, without any such occasion, it must ere long appear, that the extreme doctrines and measures now urged in support of slavery, are not received unanimously even at the south.

What then is in brief, the present state of the slavery question? It is just this. The anti-slavery societies, by their doctrine of immediate and unqualified abolition, and by the peculiar measures which they have adopted for the propagation of that doctrine, have divided the north and united the south. The southern agitators, by their doctrine of the superlative excellence and inviolable sacredness of slavery, and by their audacious demands in Congress and elsewhere, are rapidly making the north unanimous, and will ere long produce a division at the south. Then, when the voice of the north shall be again distinct, manly, true to its principles; and when some southern men shall again dare to maintain, that slavery is not the perfection of civilization,-it will be found, that the cause of truth, of freedom, of happiness, while suffering temporary disaster, has been imperceptibly approaching the hour of final triumph.

Dr. Channing's book is well suited to do good just at this juncture. At the north, its eloquent appeals will find a response in the mind of every man who does not himself deserve to be a slave. The superficial, sneering, infidel reply, which some anonymous author has published in Boston,* so far as it has any effect on the public mind, must operate to secure for the work before us a wider circulation, a more attentive reading, and therefore a more decided and salutary influence. At the south, its circulation must of course be limited; but there, hundreds of leading men who would scorn to look upon a tract, or a volume gratuitously circulated, are constrained to buy it and to read it; and however they may rage against it or attempt to answer it, the time must come, when the seed thus sown upon the angry waters will have found a soil in which to vegetate. The criticisms pronounced upon it by southern senators in Congress, will only go to promote that discussion of slavery which neither speeches, nor resolutions, nor laws, nor lawless violence, will be able to suppress. Such speeches as that of the senator from Virginia are, if we may resume the figure we have just been using, the wind which will help to carry the scattered and floating seed to the spot where, taking root, it will put forth first the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear.

At the hazard of seeming somewhat more discursive than we

* Remarks on Dr. Channing's Slavery. By a citizen of Massachusetts. Boston. 1835.

Mr. Leigh's speech on abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia. NewYork Observer, Feb. 13, 1836.

are wont to be, we take leave to notice one or two points in the speech of Mr. Leigh reviewing Dr. Channing's book. The manliness and the gentlemanliness of that speech, entitle it to a degree of consideration which is not due to the vulgar and theatrical chivalry which many southern orators utter so profusely on such subjects. What then is the present state of the slavery question, as it appears in the honorable senator's critique on Dr. Channing?

First, if we do not altogether misunderstand the scope of Mr. Leigh's remarks, it is demanded, that the discussion of slavery and the publication of opinions concerning it shall be put down at the north, either by legislative enactments or by popular violence; and the question is, whether this demand shall be complied with. The senator's first and profoundest grief in regard to Dr. Channing's book is, that it is the Doctor's purpose to counteract the efforts of those who are endeavoring to put down the schemes of the abolitionists, by embodying public opinion into efficient action against them." Embodying public opinion into efficient action! If any man is at a loss to decide what that means, let him look over a file of the New-York Courier and Enquirer, or of the New-York Evening Star, or of some of the agitating journals of those States in which the Lynch-court takes cognizance of all abuses of the freedom of speech.

Secondly, the doctrine is now laid down, that it is incendiary to declare that a man cannot rightfully be used as property. Dr. Channing uses this language: "We have thus seen, that a human being cannot rightfully be held and used as property. No legislation, not that of all countries or worlds could make him so. Let this be laid down as a first fundamental truth. Let us hold it fast, as a most sacred, precious truth. Let us hold it fast, against all customs, all laws, all rank, wealth, and power. Let it be armed with the whole authority of the civilized and christian world." "Now," says the senator from Virginia in reply, "if Dr. Channing does not know, that such language as this is in its nature and tendency incendiary, I insist that he ought not to write upon any subject he so little understands." We say then, the question is, whether this doctrine shall be received as political and moral orthodoxy at the north. The question is not, whether the publisher of an incendiary book ought to be punished; it is, what makes the book incendiary?-it is, whether the author, the printer, and the publisher, who were concerned in getting up a paper or book which contains the opinion, that man, made in God's image, cannot rightfully be held and used as property, are incendiaries. Let every citizen of the free States make up his mind upon this question. FREE States, did we say? Nay, if this doctrine is to be admitted and established, Turkey is freer than New-England.

Thirdly, it is a question between Dr. Channing and Mr. Leigh,

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