Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

vengeance. Meeting together, they consulted what should be done.

Then one said:

If we tolerate such bold and audacious speech as this in the Senate, the liberty of slaveholding will soon be in danger throughout the Republic. For it must needs be, that if permitted to continue, the People will ere long come to believe that the slavery of blacks will end in their own bondage. But at least they will fathom our present projects. They already begin to suspect that Slaveholders wish all the political power of the country. It will never do to let them know that their suspicions are well-founded; for they would rise in anger, and by one stroke sweep our privileges away; and we should not only lose power in the government, but our slaves themselves. We must punish that Senator for his insolence, and thus overawe for the future all who would speak too freely of our doings.

So they appointed two Democrats, members of the Congress, to assail the Senator, and inflict on him personal violence. And if one were to ask how it is known that they were democrats, it might be said that they called themselves so, and that the Slave Power confided in them, and that they were the owners of slaves. And these facts should prove their title to be just. But if one were to ask, whether they were well chosen for the brutality they were to perform, it might be said that they were deputies from the most chivalrous state in the Republica state in which the People are

ciphers, and Slaveholders everything, and where it is thought that blows of a cudgel will compensate for an insult; for its better class is only half-civilized.

These ruffians watched their opportunity, and finding their intended victim engaged in writing, one assailed him in his seat, and with violent blows falling thick and fast, prostrated him insensible on the floor of the Senate Chamber, where he lay weltering in his blood. But the ruffian's fellow kept guard during the assault. And another Senator, a giant in everything but body, soul, and moral worth, stood a little distance off, and looked on delighted; while over the whole scene floated the flag of the Republic.

After this brutal assault had been perpetrated, the Slave Power throughout the Union boasted that free speech was effectually overawed in Congress; and even the Democracy of the land could ill conceal their exultation, for they thought the suppression of free speech a gain to themselves as well as to the Slaveholders. And the ruffian himself, rewarded with gifts of many canes from his patrons, enjoyed the highest honors he could understand, or which they knew how to confer.

Now a distinguished Alien, a guest in the Republic, was shocked at such a display of barbarity, and visiting the Chief Magistrate, he inquired how such deeds could be tolerated.

The Magistrate blandly answered:

You do not understand, I perceive, the secret springs of American politics. Two powers, since the formation of the Constitution, have been struggling for supremacy in the national government. One is the People; the other, the body of Slaveholders. The former has struggled blindly thus far; the latter, with full consciousness of its purpose. At times the People, aroused to the im

portance of the conflict, awake and exert themselves to make Liberty universal and triumphant. But they presently become apathetic and drowsy, and the Slave Power takes advantage of their inertness, to corrupt their representatives and undo all they have accomplished. And so persistent and vigilant is the Slave Power, that thus far it has constantly beaten the People, and seems likely to triumph over them altogether, and banish Liberty from the Union. Now the country abounds in men like me—I honestly confess it—who make the pursuit of politics a business, and whose only chance of success in life lies in courting the strongest party. We have discovered that the Slave Power is the only reliable source of political preferments; and most of us long since marshalled under its banner, to subdue the People and make Slavery national. We despair of reaching office by the path of honor and patriotism; so we take another route. We who now administer the government, occupy our present position through the patronage of Slaveholders. Perhaps you would like to know how we go to work to execute the commissions of our patrons. A brief statement of our methods will make it intelligible to you, how the beating of Senators becomes necessary.

I should like to know how you proceed, said the Alien. There might be something instructive in your doings, for European statesmen.

Well, said the Magistrate, our procedure is quite unique. We servants of the Slave Power go abroad among the People, and persuade them, first, that we are the only democrats living. Then we pick up subordinates, smart, active fellows, who have no conscience, make some of them editors, and put others into the petty offices of the land and baptize them as THE DEMOCRACY.

With this nucleus of a permanent organization, we set to work upon the People themselves, and drill into them these sentiments, to wit: that natural rights belong only to white men; that Slavery is justified by civil constitutions when it conflicts with the law of God; that the last statute enacted by the strongest party in a state, is the highest rule of right in morals, provided it favors Slavery; that hostility to Slavery is dangerous to the Union; that devotion to Freedom is sectionalism; that agitation of the Slavery question should be suppressed in the North; that a private citizen may carry Slavery, as an institution, into any territory, but that no private citizen can carry Freedom into the same; that the People may govern themselves if Slaveholders rule them; that it is right for a slave state to secede at pleasure from the Union, but treason for a free state to do the same thing; that there is no power under the Constitution to build a national railroad, but ample power to employ the Army and Navy of the country to catch fugitive slaves, and prevent the settlement of the territories of the nation by Non-Slaveholders; and last of all, that no democrat should hesitate to follow his partyleaders. We have been so successful in inculcating these principles, that many of the People really think them to be the code of genuine democracy. You perceive, however, that they substantially amount to this, that fidelity and devotion to Slavery have become the one thing needful in American politics.

Well, we were lately carrying into practice some of the more fruitful of these principles, in Kansas. We stole the territory from the People by act of Congress. We set loose the Slaveholders of an adjoining state on the residents there, and had over-run and effectually subdued them, as we thought, though not indeed without

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »