Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

in the slightest degree, while scores heavy prices that our sincerity has have been passed and enforced for its cost us, ought to be our guarantees protection. Their fugitive slaves against such an imputation. As to have been remanded in almost abolition, we suppose that no intelevery instance where they have ligent Englishman, nor any intellibeen claimed, and more than once gent Northern American, would the army and navy of the Federal seriously wish to see the four milGovernment have been used for lion of negroes in the Slave States that purpose. But the States which at once emancipated. We know have commenced this horrid rebel- by experience that the result to the lion have lost scarcely any fugitive slaves themselves would not be an slaves, while those States which advantage-we know that a vast have a right to complain of losses number of proprietors would be on this score are still loyal to the ruined, that the cotton trade would Union and the Constitution. The be destroyed, and a large part of John Brown invasion, the only in our own population plunged into stance of aggressive action from the misery. Remembering the condiNorth upon slavery during the tion of the African tribes in their whole history of the Government, own country, as described by so was the act of a band of fanatics, many recent travellers, we cannot for which no considerable portion believe that even slavery is a bad of the community was in the least exchange for such a life of unmitiresponsible, and was suppressed by gated savagery. We side neither the Government of the United with those who consider slavery as States itself. In no solitary in- a paternal and beneficial institution, stance have the rebel States had the nor with those who describe it as slightest reason to complain of op- one succession of horrors. That pression or injustice at the hands of the white man cannot labour on the the Federal Government."

southern plantations that the neIt is true that at the time of the gro will not unless compelled—that establishment of the Constitution the powers necessary for compulsion slavery was regarded as an evil to are often, when committed to coarse be abolished, if possible. But the unfeeling men, used for barbarous constant tendency of legislation ever purposes—that many great moral since has been to favour the insti- evils inevitably attend the institutution. The Slave States have ever tion-are so many incontrovertible since controlled the Federal Go- facts which we must lament withvernment, and even now, but for out knowing how to remedy. Until the absolute refusal of the South to time shall render possible some return on any terms to the Union, amelioration in the condition of the we should have witnessed another negro, we believe most men who compromise to slavery. On the have examined the subject in an other hand, secession, far from se- other than sentimental spirit would curing property in slaves, directly be satisfied with an amount of legisendangers it ; for a fugitive negro, lation which would secure him from once across the frontiers which for the exercise of capricious or mermerly would not have protected him, cenary barbarity. Meanwhile, wel is now lost to his owner for ever shall consider slavery as a matter It is, therefore, not manifest that to be left out of the question of the evil of slavery will be increased Secession. by secession; and to those who hint There has been a good deal of that the exigencies of the cotton argument between the advocates of trade will oblige us to connive at Union and Secession respecting the the resumption by the South of the spirit of the articles of the Constituimportation of negroes from Africa, tion of 1787. On the one hand it is we reply that our ruined West asserted that the Constitution made Indies and our African squadron, the States not a confederacy but a

[graphic]

commonwealth ; that its framers may continue to exist by appealing were delegated, not by the States, to the imagination of the people, but by the people ; that as the either through the personal qualities States had no voice in acceding to of the ruler, the associations connectthe Constitution, so they have no ed with his dynasty, or in some other title to withdraw from it. On the way that draws the multitude from other hand it is said that secession the contemplation of their strength is not forbidden in any article of and their wrongs. But where the the Constitution ; that therefore it continuance of authority is not thus may be presumed to be in certain precarious and accidental, it rests cases legal and consistent with the on one of two facts either that the Constitution; that the States could people see no prospective advannot be deprived of their inherent tages in revolution sufficient to comsovereignty, howsoever they might pensate for its evils, or that the consent to surrender some of their governing power is strong enough to privileges to the Federal Govern- suppress revolt. To base the power ment for the common convenience. of a government on the terms of a

If the case were being temper- document would in any case be abately argued in Congress, subject to surd, but especially so in the case the decision of a controlling power of the United States, where each open to conviction, and able to en- State possesses already the machinforce its decrees, these arguments ery for separate existence in full might be important; but with the operation, and can superadd in a disputants separated, armed, and moment the powers necessary for ready to rush together, there is some- the full exercise of sovereignty, thing ludicrous in this grave refer- and has thus a temptation to resort ence to the terms of a document. It to revolution on far slighter than is as if some well-meaning Cockney ordinary provocation. Imagine justice of the peace, on a tour in the Hungary in full possession of her Tyrol, had descended from the hills diet, her judicature, and her intertwo years ago to read the Riot Act nal government, and the Austrian on the plain of Solferino. And, in- army reduced to a few brigades; dependent of present circumstances, can it be supposed that the fact of there is something highly inconsis- the Emperor of Austria being also Stent in the idea of the leaders of a King of Hungary would for a mo

successful rebellion against a parentment retain her in allegiance? A Jstate meeting to frame a constitu- constitution is to be appealed to, not (tion which was to be binding on all to enforce, but to define, the funcposterity. Only a few years had tions of government, and its power elapsed since some of these very of self-assertion is not increased by men had, in a still more celebrated the fact that it emanated from the document, commenced by asserting people. The French Emperor dethe right of revolution; and, in the rives his authority from the same interval, they had framed another source as the American Union; but, confederation, which they had de- if he trusted to the fact of his eleccreed should be perpetual. It is tion alone for the continuance of his plain that all governments must power, we imagine that the most finally rest on one of two bases— enthusiastic Federalist would deon moral influence, or on material spair of the Imperial dynasty. power. A government that is both It would be more consistent and weak and bad may continue to ex- more sensible if the contending ist, because the people may, like parties were to place their quarrel the French under Louis XV., be too on its true grounds, which are amsupine, too docile from habit, or ply sufficient to sustain it. The too incapable of organisation, to South would then plead that her combine to overthrow it. Or a go- feelings, her manners, her interests, vernment that is both weak and bad her aspirations, all are at variance with those of the North. She would she will stipulate for, in case she plead her discontent with the opera- concedes secession; or she may tion of the Union-her confidence believe that secession is the work in the advantages she would derive of an organised faction, contrary to from independence her power of the desire of the general populalaunching herself, by the mere acttion of the South, whom, by miliof secession, fully organised on her tary successes, she may set free to desired career. And, admitting return to the Union. But though that formerly a number of single this has been frequently and conStates might have experienced se- fidentially asserted, yet the eviverely the evils of disunion, yet dence thus far is in favour of the she would deny that the precedent unanimity of the South. could be quoted against the inde- But if, setting these cases aside, the pendence of such a powerful confe- Federalists propose to enter upon a deration as she now proposed to career of absolute conquest, there form.

is a consideration which ought to Nor would the North be without present itself to them, beyond the a strong rejoinder. She would expectation of the most complete argue that the seceding States would success. The contest cannot be withdraw from the Federation not settled at once. Neither the genmerely themselves, but important erals nor the troops on either side public works, constructed with have the experience necessary to Federal treasure, for the benefit not perform great operations of warof a State but of the Union ; that swift and continued marches of great material interests of the North great masses of men, ready to enwere inextricably bound up in the gage in full force on the point of South ; that the settlement of a collision. A decisive advantage by frontier would involve many ques. land can only be the result of a tions difficult of solution, and would protracted contest, during which be always a fertile subject of dis- armies will be disciplined, and pute ; that separation would dimin- generals will emerge from the ish the strength and influence of crowd. And even when the conthe States which might still desire flict terminates, an army of occupato adhere to the Union, destroy tion will be necessary to retain the their coherence, and falsify their disaffected States in submission. most cherished creed. And it is The troops thus accustomed to arms one of those interwoven and bal- will exchange the habits and feelanced cases where appeals to pre- ings of the citizen for those of the cedents are vain, where neither soldier. They will have new inparty can assert a positive and un- terests and new ambitions. They qualified right, and which arbitra- will be unwilling to hide the glory ment of some kind, with mutual they may have won in the obscurity concessions, must settle; and, at of private life at the command of first sight, the readiest and most the State. It is not difficult to prenatural arbitrament would appear dict the fate of a republic whose to be that of arms. It is impos- principle is equality, and whose sible to blame the South for pre executive is weak, in the presence paring to maintain its secession, or of such an army, led by an ambithe North for attempting to retain tious, able, and popular chief. The its privileges. The hostile attitude sagacious and philosophical De of the South is a necessity ; but, Tocqueville, writing of their constisetting the dictates of natural feel- tution, says: “When the citizens ing aside, and speaking only of are all nearly on an equality it policy, the attitude of the North is becomes difficult for them to dejudicious only in one of two cases. fend their independence against She may justly prefer to be armed the agressions of power. None of while she treats for the rights which them being powerful enough to resist alone, it is only a combination a Twiggs, or a Walker might conof the strength of all that can trol absolutely the destinies of the secure liberty. But such a com- nation. We hope, then, that the bination never takes place."

North, remaining armed to give Such, then, are the dangers which weight to her demands, will conwar brings to America. The Union cede secession. In return she will may ultimately triumph, but it may probably demand the free navigabe with the sacrifice of its liberty. tion of the southern rivers, and It is true that the military power compensation for the public prowhich is so likely to become domi- perty in the South, to which no nant may rest in the hands of offset may exist in public property another Washington of a man in the North to which the Southern popular, wise, and just, one who States have contributed. This the would maintain liberty while sup- South ought in honesty to agree to. pressing licence, and would give But, however the dispute may be the nation institutions more suit- settled, we trust sincerely that the able to the development of its career of both may be so prosperous better qualities ; but such a con- as to leave them no reason to regret tingency cannot be calculated on the disruption of the Union. It is equally likely that a Harney,

Printed by 'William Blackwood & Sons, Edinburgh.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

THERE is nothing more usual than not only of certain Travels and to say that the one thing wanting Adventures, but of all the haps and to the present age is that distinct- mishaps, mistakes, successes, virtues, ness and originality of individual and follies of as odd and character: character which gives half of its istic a figure as has ever appeared charm to the past. Yet in spite of within the English horizon.Pepys this general sentence of mediocrity, himself, the prince of autobioeverywhere acknowledged, here has, graphers, has not disclosed more within the last two years, a book naïvely his vanities and frights slid quietly into print and out of it, and compunctions; and among the without much notice taken of the world of books which everybody matter, which no publication of the nowadays knows by head-mark, and last two centuries, overflowing as can classify without trouble, a book they are with personal story and which is not a book but a personal piquant character, has surpassed. narrative, is a prize which we seize There is, perhaps, scarcely a district upon with no small joy and selfin the country where the name of congratulation. The reader of these Joseph Wolff does not wake smiles volumes will find it possible to forand recollections, sometimes ludi- get that he is not a listener ; he will crous and sometimes affectionate. break upon the course of the tale, For a man who has written next to into applauses of laughter and adnothing, and done not very much, miration; he will discover himself in this country at least, the universal gradually growing into acquaintacquaintance in which the land of ance with the outlandish hero, who his adoption holds him is remark- stands clear and full in the foreable enough ; but the book which ground, relating his own achievefriendly persuasion and help has ments with innocent relish and gusto, drawn out of the old man, in his old until at last, when the curtain drops age and leisure, is something still and the story-teller is seen to sink more remarkable. It is the story into that bosom of domestic tranquil

Travels and Adventures of the Rev. Joseph Wolff, D.D., LL.D., Vicar of Ile Brewers, near Taunton, and late Missionary to the Jews and Mohammedans in Persia, de. Saunders, Otley, & Co. 1860.

VOL. XC.-NO. DL

« НазадПродовжити »