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that could have brought on the war-as it is the only one that involved the rights of property, the possession of territory, the principle of the equal rights of the States, and was sectional in its character, dividing the nation into two separate geographical divisions.

Slavery was not a matter of choice with the American people. Bequeathed to them in their infancy, it cast its shadow upon their very cradle. Had King George III., in the plentitude of his power, desired, like some wicked Fairy of old, to curse with a fatal gift the fair child of Liberty, he could have chosen nothing more sure, more deadly, than this.

To appreciate properly the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, the Compromise itself and the relation of its subject, Slavery, to the Constitution of the United States must first be understood.

The colonies had all owned slaves. An almost immemorial custom, it was not then viewed with the abhorrence which has since become its portion. But the sentiment of their best people was decidedly against it, and protest after protest, especially from Virginia, against the further introduction of slaves went up to his majesty of England, but in vain; for King George derived a handsome revenue from the products of slave labor, and moreover regarded slavery as an element of weakness calculated to keep the Colonies in subjection to his rule.

The early colonists, more especially in Massachusetts, had attempted to make slaves of the Indians; but found them entirely unsuited to their purposes, being irreclaimably opposed to either work or submission.

It was at the suggestion, in about the year 1517, of a kind and well-meaning Catholic priest, Bartholomew Las Casas, that the regular commerce in African negroes began. He was engaged in the work of converting the Indians of the Spanish colonies in the West Indies, many of whom had been forced into a state of slavery by their Spanish captors, and compelled to labor

in the mines of Cuba, and Hispaniola (or St. Domingo).1 In pity for them and to ameliorate their sufferings, he proposed that the negroes from Africa be substituted for the Indians whose souls he was trying to save. (The souls of the negroes appear to have been a secondary consideration with the good priest.) The negroes stood captivity and slavery so much better than the Indians, who rapidly pined away and died under those condi

1 "The impossibility of carrying on any improvement in America, unless the Spanish planters could command the labor of the natives, was an insuperable objection to his plan of treating them as free subjects. In order to provide some remedy for this, without which he found it was in vain to mention his scheme, Las Casas proposed to purchase a sufficient number of negroes from the Portuguese settlements on the coast of Africa, and to transport them to America, in order that they might be employed as slaves in working the mines and cultivating the ground. One of the first advantages which the Portuguese had derived from their discoveries in Africa, arose from the trade in slaves. Various circumstances concurred in reviving this odious commerce, which had been long abolished in Europe, and which is no less repugnant to the feelings of humanity, than to the principles of religion. As early as the year one thousand five hundred and three, a few negro slaves had been sent into the New World. In the year one thousand five hundred and eleven, Ferdinand permitted the importation of them in greater numbers. They were found to be a more robust and hardy race than the natives of America. They were more capable of enduring fatigue, more patient under servitude, and the labor of one negro was computed to be equal to that of four Indians. Cardinal Ximenes, however, when solicited to encourage this commerce, peremptorily rejected the proposition, because he perceived the iniquity of reduciug one race of men to slavery, while he was consulting about the means of restoring liberty to another. But Las Casas from the inconsistency natural to men who hurry with headlong impetuosity toward a favorite point, was incapable of making this distinction. While he contended earnestly for the liberty of the people born in one quarter of the globe, he labored to enslave the inhabitants of another region; and in the warmth of his zeal to save the Americans from the yoke, pronounced it to be lawful and expedient to impose one still heavier upon the Africans. Unfortunately for the latter, Las Casas's plan was adopted. Charles granted a patent to one of his Flemish favorites, containing an exclusive right of importing four thousand negroes into America. The favorite sold his patent to some Genoese merchants for twenty-five thousand ducats, and they were the first who brought into a regular form that commerce for slaves between Africa and America, which has since been carried on to such an amazing extent."-(Wm. Robertson, History of America, Vol. 1, page 310-12.)

tions, and were besides so much more docile and submissive than the Indians, that they were brought over in large numbers, first to the West Indies and Spanish Colonies of South America, and then to the North American Colonies; to the Northern or Eastern as well as the Middle and Southern Colonies. But the negroes, from their lack of acclimation probably, proved to be very worthless laborers in the colder regions of the North, and the greater part of them gradually drifted to the more Southern Colonies where the climate1 was better suited to them.

With the dawning of intellectual and religious freedom

1 And now, after all the years, taking a purely philosophical view of the question, is it not possible that climatic differences may have been really responsible for the war between the states? They evidently had primarily a vast influence in creating the difference in institutions between the North and South. Fundamentally, slavery was the result of greed and selfishness. There is certainly nothing to indicate that human selfishness was more lacking in the North than in the South, and there was necessarily a stronger reason than any moral one which made a sectional line of demarkation between slave and free territory. Had climatic influences been the same, had the slaves whom the Northern States so largely assisted to import from Africa, regardless of the question of morality, proved as profitable an investment in those states as they were in the South, is it not at least probable that slavery would have been universal in our country? Would not the Northern people have felt that employment of the African savage in labor of a kind which no white man could stand, but for which his constitution and previous climatic surroundings peculiarly fitted him, was entirely justifiable on the ground of necessity? Would they not have believed that the civilization of American slavery was really preferable for this savage over the slavery of benighted barbarism and cannibalism in which he dwelt? Would they not have claimed his civilization and Christianization as high moral and religious results of his subjugation and deportation from his native land? That they did not receive the same revenue from slave labor in the North as in the South, is probably the genuine reason, as the economic one, for its rejection by them. That the failure of the negro as a source of revenue to his Northern master was due to his lack of acclimatization, was rendered very apparent by the contrast between the just-arrived Dahomey negroes who sat shivering in midsummer at the World's Fair in Chicago, 1893, and the acclimatized American negro who has been spreading himself throughout the North so regardless of climate that he may in time be expected to perhaps rout the Esquimaux from the North Pole, and chase the polar bear from the frozen seas of the Artic regions.

upon the world had also, however, arisen the idea that personal slavery was wrong; that the enslavement of one man by another, for his own benefit, was an infringement of the rights of man; but, like all new ideas, this opinion was held mainly by the advanced thinkers of the day, and had scarcely yet permeated the

masses.

Whilst the struggle for Independence from Great Britain was coming on, the feeling against African slavery was growing too, in the American Colonies, and nowhere was this feeling stronger than in Virginia among all the better classes of people.

In a letter written by Patrick Henry to a correspondent who sent him Anthony Benezet's book against the slave trade, after expressing his "wonder that this abominable practice has been introduced in the most enlightened ages," he says:

"Would any one believe I am the master of slaves of my own purchase! I am drawn along by the general inconvenience of living here without them. I will not, I can not justify it I believe a time will come

when an opportunity will be offered to abolish this lamentable evil. Every thing we can do is to improve it if it happens in our day; if not, let us transmit to our descendants, together with our slaves, a pity for their unhappy lot and an abhorrence of slavery.

I could say many things on this subject, a serious view of which gives a gloomy perspective to future times."

This letter was written in 1773 (see Vol. 1, p. 152, Wm. Wirt Henry's Life of Patrick Henry), and in 1774, in an address of the "Freeholders of Hanover County" to Patrick Henry and John Syme, their delegates to the Virginia Convention which met August 1st. at Williamsburgh to appoint her delegates to the first Continental Congress, we find the following as a part of their instructions:

"The African trade for slaves we consider as most dangerous to the virtue and welfare of this country; we

therefore most earnestly wish to see it totally discouraged." (Idem, p. 193.)

But the negro, with all his indolent, shiftless waysthough so unprofitable in the cold climate of the North as to be not only not a success there as a pecuniary investment, but, instead, an incubus on society—yet, when transferred to the warmer climate of the South, had become a useful laborer and a valuable member of the community. The exports from the Southern Colonies had made them far more wealthy than were the Northern, and these exports were the products of slave labor.' So that however opposed the Southern Colonists might be to slavery in sentiment, their interests were all bound up in this labor which had opened their forests and drained their swamps, which had found health where the Anglo-Saxon would have found only a grave, and which had become, from a race of most ignorant barbarians, under the teachings and control of their American masters, contented, useful, and happy as any laboring class in the world.

The interests of the Northern Colonists meantime were entirely divorced from slave labor; they were turning their attention to fisheries, to commerce, to navigation, and whatever promised them some increase of their wealth. Among other articles of commerce, they carried on a considerable trade in African slaves, for whom they found a ready market in the South, whose fertile lands were not yet by any means all opened up to cultivation.

With such diverse interests, with such totally different systems of labor and habits of life, it is not wonderful that it was a difficult thing for these Colonies to form a Union; and they probably would never have done so, but for the strong outside pressure from Great Britain which impelled them to unite for self-protection. With their very birth then as Confederated States, there

1 They also owned three times as much territory previous to Virginia's cession of the North-western Territory.—THE AUTHOR.

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