« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
upon many, it will rest too lightly to be counted a burden. White men may and should help to bear it; but if so, then all the more the negro must spend his own money. Half the amount now idled away on comparatively useless societies and secret orders will work wonders.
Money is essential, especially for two matters. First, for the stimulation, publication, and wide distribution of a literature of the facts, equities, and exigencies of the negro question in all its practical phases. This would naturally include a constant and diligent keeping of the whole question pruned clear of its dead matter. From nothing else has the question suffered so much, at the hands both of friends and of foes, as from lack of this kind of attention. And, secondly, money is essential for the unofficial, unpartisan, prompt, and thorough investigation and exposure of crimes against civil and political rights.
You must press the contest for equal civil rights and duties in your separate States. The claim need by no means be abated that the national government has rights and duties in the matter that have not yet been fully established; but for all that you can urge the question's recognition in State political platforms, and, having made your vote truly and honorably valuable to all parties, can bestow it where there is largest prospect of such recognition being carried into legislation and such legislation being carried into effect.
There is a strong line of cleavage already running through the white part of the population in every southern State. On one side of this line the trend of conviction is toward the establishment of the common happiness and security through the uplifting of the whole people by the widest possible distribution of moral effects and wealth-producing powers. It favors, for example, the expansion of the public-school system, and is strongest among men of professional callings and within sweep of the influence of colleges and universities. It antagonizes such peculiar institutions as the infamous convict-lease system, with that system's enormous political powers. It condemns corrupt elections at home or abroad. It revolts against the absolutism of political parties. In a word, it stands distinctively for the New South of American ideas, including the idea of material
development, as against a New South with no ideas except that of material development for the aggrandizement of the few, and the holding of the whole Negro race in the South to a servile public status, cost what it may to justice, wealth, or morals Let the Negro, in every State and local issue, strive with a dauntless perseverance intelligently, justly, and honorably to make his vote at once too cheap and too valuable for the friends of justice and a common freedom to despise it or allow their enemies to suppress it. Remember, your power in the nation at large must always be measured almost entirely by your power in your own State.
And, finally, you must see the power and necessity of individual thought and action. It is perfectly natural that the Negro, his history being what it is, should magnify the necessity of cooperating in multitudinous numbers to effect any public result. He has not only been treated, but has treated himself too much, as a mere mass. While he has too often lacked in his organized efforts that disinterested zeal, or even that semblance of it which far-sighted shrewdness puts on, to insure wide and harmonious co-operation, he has, on the other hand, overlooked the power of the individual and the necessity of individual power to give power to numbers.
You rightly think it atrocious that you should lose your vote by its fraudulent suppression. But what can your vote when counted procure you? Legislation? Possibly. But what can legislation procure you if it is contrary to public sentiment? And how are public sentiment and action, in the main, shaped ? By the supremacy of individual minds; by the powers of intellect, will, argument, and persuasion vested by nature in a few individuals here and there, holding no other commission but these powers, and every such individual worth from a hundred to a hundred thousand votes. Without this element and without its recognition there is little effective power even in organized masses. Do not wait for the mass to move. The mass waits for the movement of the individual, who cannot and will not wait for the mass. You may believe your powers to be, or they may actually be, humble; but even so, there are all degrees of leader. ship and need of all. There is a work to be done which it is not
in the nature of violence or votes or any mere mass power, organized or unorganized, to accomplish.
An attempt has been made here to enumerate a few of its prominent features. They are things that the negro can do so profitably and honorably to all, of whatever race, class, or region, that no white citizen can justly refuse his public, active co-operation. The times demand these things. The changes already going on in the South are just what call for promptness and vigor in this work, for they mark the supreme opportunity that lies in a formative stage of public affairs. What will the Negro do?
G. W. CABLE 43
THE terms production, distribution, and consumption include all the material interests embraced in the consideration of political economy. The nation which has within the limits of its territory the amplest facilities for producing the means of human sustenance and enjoyment, of transporting its native materials and the productions of its people with greatest speed and regularity and at least cost of labor per unit of measurement, and the enterprise and labor of whose people is so generously rewarded that they are able freely to consume one another's productions, must lead all other nations in the race for intellectual, social, and industrial supremacy; for, as has been tersely said, “ both the foundation and the limit of the growth of wealth are in the profitable exchange of products. Given that condition, it cannot grow too fast or too far." This aphorism is a condensed statement of results possible of attainment by a nation in the enjoyment of the conditions just enumerated; for such a nation may produce and distribute among its people limitless wealth, and provide for all the reasonable desires of its citizens, without exacting exhausting labor from any.
But it has been truly said that order is Heaven's first law; and history unites with nature in teaching that, whether we contemplate the progress of civilization or of animal or vegetable life, symmetry is an inexorable pre-requisite to healthy develop
Had the settlement and development of our country been harmonious and symmetrical, our civilization would long ere this have gone far toward realizing the dreams of Sir Thomas More and other Utopians. The extent of our territory, its geographical position, its topography, its climatic conditions, and the universality of its material resources, together with their convenient local distribution, betoken its vast productive capacity, and the facility with which its products may be applied to meet the demands of an ever-growing home market.
No people ever possessed so vast or richly endowed a country, or one so happily situated for complete and symmetrical development. The harbors on the inland seas which bear the vast and ever-growing commerce of its northern border are ice-bound about five months in the year, and the country for whose produce they afford cheap outlets during the remainder of the year is regarded as hyperborean by those who dwell near the broad sea from whose waters the Gulf Stream issues, and over whose surface summer breezes ever linger. Off its eastern and western shores are the world's grandest highways of international trade. The Pacific Ocean gives us a direct western route to the nations of the ancient Orient and the southern archipelago, and the Atlantic connects us with the peoples of western Europe, whose descendants we are, and whose energy, enterprise, and genius we possess by hereditary right. But these ocean highways are of greater value as the channels of our vast coastwise commerce and as fisheries; and the value of each of these interests rises further in national consideration when we take into account the opportunities they afford for the training of a volunteer navy.
Our coastwise commerce, which is but part of our domestic trade, and does not appear in the statistics of international trade, exceeds in bulk the foreign trade of any other country, except perhaps Great Britain. The possibilities of its extension are inconceivable, as the Atlantic and Gulf States, with the Pacific States and Territories, may produce every vital element of manufacture.
The natural wealth of the United States is marvelous, not only by reason of its magnitude and universality of kind, but for the beneficence with which it has been so distributed as to furnish employment and profit to the people of every section of the country. All the elements of life and manufacture are found distributed throughout our country in such relations as to stim. ulate a vast system of internal exchanges. The sense of mutual interdependence thus produced is our strongest bond of union.
Nor is the topography of our country less remarkable. A clear idea of our climatic conditions cannot be conveyed by references to latitude and longitude, nor would the untraveled reader attain a conception of these conditions over any considerable