Изображения страниц

in face of what was then actually occurring, sake of humanity and the peace of Europe, it that Mr. Layard was able to say in reply that might soon be done away. With respect to there were no Piedmontese troops in the the temporal government of the Papacy-one Marches, Umbria, or the Legations—that if of the questions involved in the discussion -the people wished to return to their former Mr. Gladstone, in a powerful argument, urged allegiance there was nothing to prevent them the impolicy as well as the injustice of pro--and with regard to Rome, the question was longing it. not whether King Victor Emmanuel wanted Lord Palmerston closed the debate by deit, but whether the Romans wanted him. claring that the government had acted con

Mr. Gladstone, pointivg out the extraordi- sistently with their avowed desire to see Italy nary credulity and the equally extraordinary liberated from tyrannical oppressors, and that power of paradox displayed by Sir George this policy had represented the feeling of the Bowyer, said: “To take a particular instance, country. He complimented Sir Georye Bowthere is the downfall of the late kingdom of yer on his loyalty to the church of which he the Two Sicilies. My hon. and learned friend was a member, but affirmed that the governwas so kind as to ascribe to me some infinite- ment would be willing to abide by the verdict simal share in removing from the world the of the nation. sorrow and iniquity which once oppressed that unhappy country. I should take it as a The first year of the decade, the events of favour if the charge were made truly, but I which we are now considering, is memorable claim or assume no such office. Here is a for the commencement of that tremendous country which my hon. and learned friend conflict which it was thought would separate says is, with a few miserable exceptions the United States of America into two indeamongst the middle classes, fondly attached pendent republics; and the social as well as to the expelled dynasty-and what happens the political effects produced in this country there? An adventurer, Garibaldi, clothed in by the war in America were attended with a red shirt, and some volunteers also clothed great anxiety and fraught with no inconsiderin red shirts, land at a point in the peninsula, able danger. The anxiety was of two kinds, march through Calabria, face a sovereign with the painful impression produced by the prosa well-disciplined army of 80,000 men, and a pect of a long and sanguinary struggle befleet probably the best in Italy, and that tween people who had formed one great nation sovereign disappears before them like a mock--speaking the same language, possessing the ery king of snow! And yet such is the power same civilization, and in the main derived of paradox that my hon. and learned friend from the same stock as ourselves; and the still

argues for the affectionate loyalty of the fear (which for a time proved to be well Neapolitans, as if such results could have been grounded) that our commercial and interachieved anywhere save where the people national relations to either or to both belligwere alienated from the throne.” Sir George erents would be injured and imperilled. The Bowyer had declared or predicted that the danger lay in the ignorance of the great maItalians would never have the city of Rome jority of people here as to the real grounds of for their capital. He (Mr. Gladstone) did not a strife which appeared to be so sudden and believe in that prediction. Sir George required overwhelming; and in the erroneous impresthe house to believe that the people of Rome sion which many of the most enlightened and were perfectly satisfied; but there were some sagacious of our public men had formed of its 20,000 French troops kept there for some probable issue. In a word, England, because purpose which Sir G. Bowyer had not ex- of her true and natural sympathy with the plained. Speaking as an individual, he could people of the United States, was divided into not but regret the continuance of that occu- partisans of the North or of the South, acpation: and he most earnestly hoped, for the cording to the sentiments or the misappre. sake of the name and fame of France, for the hensions by which opinions were guided, at

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

the very time when the near and peculiar | dence as a sovereign state, had been followed relation that we bore to the combatants by Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and most demanded the exercise of a practically Texas; and Mr. Jefferson Davis, who had disinterested neutrality, which as a nation we formerly been secretary of war in the United earnestly and successfully strove to preserve. States government, was elected, in a meeting

There was and continued to be a great deal at Charleston, and proclaimed first president of confusion in the representations current in of these “Confederated States.” Then, after England with regard to the original causes having adopted a constitution similar to that of the war and the reasons for its continuance; of the United States government, the Cov nor would it be easy within the limits of these federates or “Seceders” took possession of all pages to trace the real history of its beginning, the property of the Federal government within and the varied conditions and vicissitudes their reach, including all the military posts under which it was pursued.' That the first except two or three forts. In Texas a force hostilities by the South and the secession of of 2000 regular troops under General Twiggs South Carolina were in immediate relation to surrendered to the state militia; and Major the apparently inevitable opposition of the Anderson, commanding the Federal garrison Northern States to the maintenance of slavery of Fort Moultrie, in the port of Charleston, was obvious enough; but several endeavours blew up the post which he could no longer were made by the United States government hold, and removed the garrison to Fort Sumto induce the slave-holding states to remain ter. loyal to the Union, and among the propositions All this had taken place during the presiwere suggestions to adopt a bourdary line dency of Mr. Buchanan, who preceded Mr. beyond which slavery should never be inter- Lincoln, and who was said to be closely allied fered with. When the “Republican” party,

to the interests of the slaveowners. At anywhich was regarded as the anti-slavery party,

rate some of his ministers were in favour of carried their candidate for the presidency, it the Confederacy, and he was obliged to diswas still admitted that force would not or miss theni. One of them, Mr. Floyd, aftershould not be employed to restore the Union. wards become a violent partisan of the South, Mr. Seward, who became secretary of state, and commanded a brigade in Western Virhad declared that if the Union were restored ginia, and another went to preside over the by force it would not be worth having. Mr. Confederate senate. Abraham Lincoln, however, in his inaugural These were convincing signs that the quesaddress, stated his intention of recovering and tion of slaveholding and slave traffic were the keepivg the property of the United States, primary reasons for secession; but for a proper and as he did not mention that he would do understanding of the attitude of the Federal so by the force of arms, much trouble was government, it will be necessary to remember taken by several eminent men in and out of that at the time of the actual commencement office to represent that the message was truly of hostilities and afterwards, Mr. Abraham pacific. It would appear that a considerable Lincoln declared that he did not go to war to number of those who read the message in this put an end to slavery, nor even to decide way-and among them Mr. Seward-pro- whether in certain states slavery should or fessed not to believe in the reality of the should not exist, or whether a certain number secession, but thought that the temporary of slaves should be permitted; but that he demonstrations of revolt would cease when called upon the Northern States to arm solely the whole question came to be argued and a to preserve the Union, which it was their duty compromise was effected. Otherwise it is to maintain. difficult to see how the property of the Union So far then we may see a little of what could be either recovered or preserved without was the position of affairs in 1861; but whatrecourse to force. South Carolina having an- ever may have been the assumed causes or nounced her resumption of separate indepen- | the expressed objects of the conıbatants, the


slave question was that which had really to came one of those significant phrases which be settled. The advances in civil liberty made are conveniently used to express settled conby the Northern States, where the “peculiar victions. But it is necessary to note that Mr. institution" of holding negroes in perpetual Seward apparently held the opinion that a bondage had been long abandoned, made the compromise might be made by which slavery perpetuation of slavery in neighbouring terri- should be suffered gradually to die out, or tories under the same goverument impossible, should by degrees be superseded by free laand the negro who could escape over the bor- bour, and should not be perpetuated in future der was concealed or protected by the “aboli. generations by what were called the slavetionists." After the commencement of the breeding states. Even before the date of the war such fugitives were enfranchised by the speech just quoted he had said, in addressing law which was passed against the recapture the senate at Washington, “All parties in of, or claim of property in, any one dwelling this country that have tolerated the extension within the boundaries of the free states. of slavery, except one, have perished for that

The cry for abolition of negro slavery was error already, and that last one-the Demoin the air of the Northern States; and there cratic party-is hurrying on irretrievably to were not wanting either true narratives, pas- the same fate!” sionate appeals, fictional representations, or There was nothing in the attitude of the clear, indisputable evidence to show what state of South Carolina inconsistent with prewere the actual as well as the possible cruel- vious demonstrations. In 1818, when the ties and degradations to which the human senate at Washington had approved of a petichattel was liable under the irresponsible tion from the people of New Mexico to exauthority of an owner, or the irregulated clude domestic slavery from that country, the tyranny of an overseer. Slavery could not assembly of South Carolina passed resolutions have existed in any form likely to have been denying the power of Congress to prohibit the acceptable to either party, and, indeed, the introduction of slavery into any territory acmost vigorous party-those who had retained quired by treaty or by the arms of all the the “grit” and persistency of the early foun- states. The question was not likely to become ders of America---would not have rested with the cause of a national conflict while the Demoany compromise. Their forefathers, like ours, cratic party was in power, for the Democrats had regarded the institution as at least a of America may be said to have represented permissible one, even when they did not the Conservative party, and the Republicans rely on a convenient interpretation of Scrip- the Whigs or Liberals. Near the end of the ture for its support; but these people had year 1853 a meeting of English ladies was abandoned the belief that negroes were the

held at Stafford House to agree upon a mechildren of Ham, or that the system of slavery morial to the ladies of the United States, as it was practised, or miglit easily be prac- which said, “A common origin, a common tised, was of divine institution. To them it faith, and we sincerely believe a common was a thing evil and odious-a system which cause, urge us at the present moment to adhad become dangerous to the existence of the dress you on the subject of that negro slavery republic. Whatever may have been Mr. Se- which still prevails so extensively, and even ward's opinion of the means to be taken to under kindly disposed masters, with such abolish it--and though in 1861 he may have frightful results, in many of the vast regions regarded the secession of the slave-owning of the Western World.” The address was read states as only a temporary demonstration-- by the Duchess of Sutherland, and was sent; he had, as early as 1858, declared in a speech but the answer received from Mrs. Tyler, the in New York state that the antagonism be- wife of the ex-president, was resentful. It tween freedom and slavery was “an irrepres- roundly told the duchess that she might find sible conflict between opposing and enduring fitting objects for her sympathy in London, in forces;” and the “irrepressible contlict” be- | Ireland, or on hier own Highland estates; and THE SLAVE POPULATION IN THE UNITED STATES.


said, “ Leave it to the women of the South to justice. This had been the condition of affairs alleviate the sufferings of their dependants, in those states which did not ropudiate the while you take care of your own. The negro bill by their own state laws, until the secession of the South lives sumptuously in comparison of the Southern States, and the first losses of with 100,000 of your white population in Lon- the Federals after the commencement of the don.” This reply, of course, did not touch the war-when Abraham Lincoln, who was then other side of the negro question, and, in fact, president, issued a proclamation declaring the did not touch the question of slavery at all. freedom of all fugitive slaves entering the It indicated, perhaps, that a large proportion Federal States. of the people of the Northern States did not The demands for complete emancipation had care much for the negroes, as they very plainly not been altogether silenced since the days showed when they came in contact with them; when England bad paid so heavily for the freeand it seemed to imply that at that time dom of the negroes in her West Indian possesemancipation was not regarded as a desirable sions. In France and in America anti-slavery question to bring into prominence. Evidences societies were earnestly at work, but all that were not wanting that it might soon become could be done was to insist on the active supa difficult, if not a dangerous one.

pression of the traffic in Africa. Unhappily the The Republicans appear to have taken up slave-dealers and their agents, the man-stealers, the slave question as one which would have found the trade sufficiently profitable to tempt to be fought out with determination, and were them to run great risks, and horrible discovready to demand that the whole force of the eries were sometimes made of the sufferings of government should be exerted to prevent the the wretched creatures, who were battened extension or the perpetuation of slavery in down in fast-sailing craft, that a quick run any of the states of the Union. The Demo- might be made to escape the British, French, or crats, on the other hand, were equally ready American cruisers. In 1840 the societies held to defend “the institution,” and the result was a conference, the result of which was that the that while the United States government, in American government endeavoured to estabconjunction with Great Britain, was expend- lish a negro colony, which they called Liberia, ing a large amount of money and losing many on the West Coast of Africa, to which slaves men in the work of suppressing the African who had obtained their freedom might be slave-trade-and the only portions of the sent. We cannot here follow the obvious civilized world where that traffic was tolerated causes of the failure of this attempt to form a were the islands of Cuba and Porto Rico, self-sustaining colony of freed slaves. England runaway slaves, in their endeavour to escape had a station at Sierra Leone for the reception from the Southern States to the borders, were of negroes rescued from intercepted slave recaptured and severely punished. Even at ships. It was believed that many of the Charleston the abolitionists were wrought slaves bought in Africa were not only taken to a pitch of excitement by the arrest of to Cuba and Porto Rico, but were smuggled fugitives, and their relinquishment to those through Texas to the Southern States of who claimed them as their property. This America; but apart from that, those states was in accordance with the Fugitive Slave retained in bondage the negroes at work on Bill passed by Congress in 1850, permitting the plantations or otherwise employed, and owners to follow runaway slaves into free comparatively few of them or their offspring states, and making any assistance given to obtained their freedom. The number of the them in their flight, or any opposition to their negro slave population in the South in 1840 arrest, illegal and punishable. At the same was reckoned at about two millions; but these time the "free soil” party—(who, like the figures were uncertain, or perhaps did not slaveholders, were fond of the word “free- include the quadroons or mixed race of negroes dom” in relation to themselves)-agreed to and whites, numbers of whom were kept in reject the testimony of slaves in courts of slavery even though, in many instances, the signs of their negro descent had been almost was not fact in the sense of its having hapobliterated, or at least were not conspicuous. pened in relation to persons such as were there

The anti-slavery societies had done much, depicted; but there was nothing in it that and the Quaker community had been forward might not have happened without interference in the effort to abolish from the land what by law. The system of slavery in the South they believed to be an accursed thing; but, made such incidents possible, many of them as we have seen, other powerful agencies con- probable: it was known that they had haptributed to give a quick incentive to the move- pened and were happening. The character ment, which in 1859 had aroused not only of Uncle Tom was not the biography of any the interests but the passions of either side. one man. It has been explained that the first The question had become, at the same time, a suggestion of it reached Mrs. Stowe while she political and a religious one. Slaves who suc- was in the Walnut Hills, Ohio. The coloured ceeded in escaping from the plantations found cook, whose husband was a slave in Kentucky, protectors in the free states, who aided and used to go to Mrs. Stowe to ask her to write comforted them even at the risk of incurring to him. The poor woman told her mistress punishment by the law, or the lawless revenge that this man's master trusted him to go alone of those who looked upon them much as horse and unwatched to Cincinnati to market bis or cattle stealers would have been regarded in farm produce. This, according to the laws of some other communities. The fugitives often Ohio, gave the man his freedom, since if any had dreadful stories to tell of the cruelties master brought or sent his slave into Ohio he practised by overseers; the evidences of the became free de facto. But she said her hustruth of what they said, were to be seen upon band had given his word as a Christian to his their scarred and seared bodies, and were often master that he would not take advantage of corroborated by witnesses who had themselves the law—his master promising him his freevisited Southern plantations, or possessed in

dom. Whether he ever got it is not redubitable testimony of the treatment of which corded. It was some four or five years after, the slaves were frequently the victims. It when the fugitive slave law made Mrs. Stowe may be conceded that comparatively few in- desirous of showing what slavery was, that stances of cruelty and atrocity would have she conceived the plan of writing the history been sufficient, in the excited state of feeling, of a faithful Christian slave. After she had to raise a passionate outcry against the system begun the story she obtained, at the Antiof slavery and a demand for its abolition, but slavery Rooms in Boston, the autobiography the examples were too numerous to be re- of Josiah Henson, and introduced some of its garded as exceedingly rare or as altogether most striking incidents into the story. Josiah exceptional. It was known that men, women, Henson, an old negro, was in England in 1879 and children were sold at auction like beasts, or 1880, and was introduced as the Uncle Tom that they were often treated like brutes, that of Mrs. Stowe's story. Doubtless Uncle Tom's men and even women were flogged and pun- Cabin had an immense effect in increasing the ished in a revolting manner, that women who public feeling against slavery; but it was not were not negroes, but who were partly of alone books or stories or public meetings which negro blood, might be flogged or worse. Not were working upon the popular imagination only in cries, speeches, songs were these or the general sense of right and justice. In 1859 things denounced, but anti-slavery tracts, es- “ abolition” had taken a startling and pracsays, stories, were circulated in great numbers. tical form—the form of an enthusiasm which, Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe's story, l’ncle by some, was not unnaturally regarded as fanTom's Cabin, sent a thrill of pain and of in- aticism, as displayed by John Brown and his dignation not only through the Northern sons and followers at Harper Ferry. States, but through England, through other John Brown, or as he was usually called, nations of Europe. Of course we know now “Old John Brown," had been a prominent that it was a “story,” that all that was in it character before the struggle between the

[ocr errors]
« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »