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"How much you must have suffered, my poor bairn!"
The soft Scotch tone and word—the grave, quiet Scotch manner, implying more than it even expressed—was it wonderful if underlying as well as outside influences made Hilary completely give way?
Robert Lyon had had a mother, who died when he was seventeen, but of whom he kept the tenderest remembrance, often saying that of all the ladies he had met with in the world, there was none equal to her—the strong, tender, womanly, peasant woman— refined in mind and word and ways—though to the last day of her life she spoke broad Scotch, and did the work of her cottage with her own hands. It seems as if that mother —towards whom Hilary's fancy had clung, lovingly as a woman ought to cling, above all others, to the mother of the man she loves—were speaking to her now, comforting her and helping her — comfort and help that it would have been sweeter to receive from her than from any woman living.
A mere fancy; but in her state of long, uncontrolled excitement, it took such possession of her that Hilary fell on her knees, and hid her face in Miss Balquidder's lap, sobbing aloud.
The other was a little surprised; but it was not her Scotch way to yield to emotion before folk; but she was a wise woman, she asked no questions,—merely held the quivering hands and smoothed the throbbing head, till composure returned. Some people have a magical mesmeric power of soothing and controlling: it was hers. When she took the poor face between her hands, and looked straight into the eyes, with, "There you are better, now," Hilary returned the gaze as steadily, nay, smilingly, and rose.
"Now, may I tell you my business?"
"Certainly, my dear. When one's friends are in trouble, the last thing one ought to do is to sit down beside them and moan. Did you come to ask my advice, or had you any definite plan of your own?"
"I had." And Hilary told it.
"A very good plan, and very generous in you to think of it. But I see two strong objections: first, whether it can be carried out; secondly, whether it ought."
Hilary shrank sensitively.
"Not on my account, my dear, but your
own. I often see people making martyrs of themselves for some worthless character on whom the sacrifice is utterly wasted. I object to this, as I would object to throwing myself or my friend into a blazing house, unless I was morally ceitain there was a life to be saved. Is there in this case?"
"I think there is! I trust in Heaven there is !" said Hilary, earnestly.
There was both pleasure and pity expressed in Miss Balquidder's countenance, as she replied: "Be it so; that is a matter on which no one can judge except yourself. But on the other matter you ask my advice, and I must give it. To maintain two ladies, j and pay a debt of eighty pounds out of one hundred a year is simply impossible."
"With Johanna's income and mine it will be a hundred and twenty pounds and some odd shillings a year."
"You accurate girl! But even with this it cannot be done, unless you were to live in a manner so restricted in the commonest comforts, that at your sister's age she would be sure to suffer. You must look on the question from all sides, my dear. You must be just to others, as well as to that young
man, who seems never to But I wifl
leave him unjudged."
They were both silent for a minute; and then Miss Balquidder said: "I feel certain there is but one rational way of accomplishing the thing, if you are bent upon doing it, if your own judgment and conscience tell you it ought to be done. Is it so?"
"Yes," said Hilary, firmlv.
The old Scotswoman took her hand with a warm pressure. "Very well. I don't blame you. I might have done the same myself. Now to my plan. Miss Leaf, have you known me long enough to confer on me the benediction—one of the few that we rich folk possess,—' It is more blessed to give than to receive'?"
"I don't quite understand."
"Then allow me to explain. I happen to know this creditor of your nephew. lie being a tailor and an outfitter, we have had dealings together in former times, and I know him to be a hard man, an unprincipled man, such an one as no young woman should have to do with, even in business relations. To be in his power, as you would be for some years, if your scheme of gradual payment were curried out, is the last thing I should desire for you. Let mo suggest another way. Take me for your creditor instead of him. Pay him at once, and I will write you a cheque for the amount.".
The thing was put so delicately, in such an ordinary manner, as if it were a mere business arrangement, that at first Hilary hardly perceived all it implied. When she did; when she found that it was in plain terms a gift or loan of eighty pounds, offered by a person almost a stranger, she was at first quite bewildered. Then (ah ! let us not blame her if she carried to a morbid excess that noble independence which is the foundation of all true dignity in man or woman) she shrunk back into herself, overcome with annoyance and shame. At last she forced herself to say, though the words came out rather coldly,—
"You are very good. and I am exceedingly obliged to you ; but I never borrowed money in my life. It is quite impossible."
"Very well: I can understand your feelings. I beg your pardon," replied Miss Balquidder, also somewhat coldly.
They sat silent and awkward, and then the elder lady took out a pencil, and began to make calculations in her memorandumbook.
"I am reckoning what is the largest sum per month that you could reasonably-be expected to spare, and how you may make the most of what remains. Are you aware that London lodgings are very expensive? I am thinking that if you were to exchange out of the Kensington shop into another I have at Richmond, I could offer you the first floor above it for much less rent than you pay Mrs. Jones; and you could have your sister living with you."
"Ah! that would make us both so much happier! How good you are!"
"You will see, I only wish to help you to help yourself; not to put you under any obligation. Though I cannot see anything Bo very terrible in your being slightly indebted to an old woman, who has neither chick nor child, and is at perfect liberty to do what she likes with her own."
There was a pathos in the tone which smoto Hilary into quick contrition.
"Forgive me! But I have such a horror of borrowing money—you must know why, after what I have told you of our family. You must surely understand"
"I do, fully; but there are limits even to independence. A person who, for his own pleasure, is ready to take money from anybody and everybody, without the slightest prospect or intention of returning it, is quite different from a friend who in a case of emergency, accepts help from another friend, being ready and willing to take every means of repayment, as I knew you were, and meant you to be. I meant, as you suggested, to stop out of your salary so much per month, till I had my eighty pounds safe back again."
"But suppose you never had it back? I am young and strong; still I might fall ill —I might die, and you never be repaid."
"Yes, I should," said Miss Balquidder, with a serious smile. "You forget my dear bairn,—' Inasimtch as ye have done it to one of these little ones, ye have done it unto me.' 'He that giveth to the poor, lendeth to the Lord.' I have lent him a good deal at different times, and he has always paid me back with usury."
There was something at once solemn and a little sad in the way the old lady spoke. Hilary forgot her own side of the subject; her pride, her humiliation.
"But do you not think, Miss Balquidder, that one ought to work on, struggle on, to the last extremity, before one accepts an obligation, most of all a money obligation?"
"I do, as a general principle. Yet money is not the greatest thing in this world, that a pecuniary debt should be the worst to bear. And sometimes one of the kindest acts you can do to a fellow-creature—one that touches and softens his heart, nay, perhaps wins it to you for life, is to accept a favor from him."
Hilary made no reply.
"I speak a little from experience. I have not had a very happy life myself; at least most people would say so if they knew it; but the Lord has made it up to me by giving me the means of bringing happiness, in money as well as other ways, to other people. Most of us have our favorite luxuries; this is mine. I like to do people good; I like also—though maybe that is a mean weakness —to feel that I do it. If all whom I have been made instrumental in helping had said to me, as you have done, 'I will not be helped, I will not be made happy,' it would have been rather hard for me."
And a smile, half humorous, half sad, came over the hard-featured face, spiritualizing its whole expression.
Hilary wavered. She compared her own life, happy still, and hopeful, for all its cares, with that of this lonely woman, whose only blessing was her riches, except the generous heart which sanctified them, and made them such. Humbled, nay, ashamed, she took and kissed the kindly hand which had succored so many, yet which, in the inscrutable mystery of Providence, had been left to go down to the grave alone ; missing all that is personal, dear, and precious to a woman's heart, and getting instead only what Hilary now gave her—the half-sweet, half-bitter payment of gratitude.
"Well, my bairn, what is to be done?"
"I will do whatever you think right,'* murmured Hilary.
From The Westminster Review. THE SLAVE POWER.
The Slave Power; its Character, Career, and Probable Designs: being an Attempt to explain the real Issues involved in the American Contest. By J. E. Cairnes, M.A., Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Economy in Queen's College, Galway; and late Whately Professor of Political Economy in the University of Dublin. London. 1862.
Tms volume has a twofold claim to attention; on the author's account, and on its own. Mr. Cairnes, one of the ablest of the distinguished men who have given lustre to the much-calumniated Irish colleges, as well as to the chair of Political Economy, which Ireland owes to the enlightened public spirit of Archbishop Whately, is known to the thinking part of the public as the contributor to English periodicals of the clearest and most conclusive discussions which have yet appeared on some of the most disputed and difficult economical questions of the time. Ho has now, in a work of larger dimensions, given the result of the study which, both as a firstrate political economist, and in the higher character of a moral and political philosopher, he has devoted to the American contest. A work more needed, or one better adapted to the need, could scarcely have been produced at the present time. It contains more than enough to give a new turn to English feeling on the subject, if those who guide and sway public opinion were ever likely to reconsider a question on which they have so deeply committed themselves. To all who are still open to conviction, it is an invaluable exposition both of the principles and the facts of the case. The last is as much required as the first; for the strange partiality of the nation which most abhors negro slavery, to those who are urging an internecine war solely for its propagation, could not have existed for a moment, had there not been, not merely a complete misunderstanding of principles, but an utter ignorance of facts.
We believe that we shall, on the present occasion, do a better service to truth and right by helping to extend the knowledge of the contents of Mr. Cairnes's treatise, than by any comments of our own. Mr. Cairnes opens up the question in so lucid and natural an order, and so exhausts it in all its
more important aspects, that a mere condensation of his book would be the most powerful argumentative discourse on the subject, which could well be given in the narrow compass of an article. Not that, as is the case with lax and diffuse writers, his argument gains by condensation. On the contrary, it loses greatly. In Mr. Cairnes's book there is nothing verbose, nothing superfluous; the effect is nowhere weakened by expansion, nor the impression of the whole frittered away by undue expatiating on parts; the work is artistic as well as scientific, observing due proportion, dwelling long enough, and not too long, on each portion of the subject, and passing to a new point exactly when the mind is prepared for it, by having completely appropriated those preceding. An attempt to convey the substance of such a composition in an abridged form, may give some idea of the skeleton, but none of the nerve and muscle: the greatest merit which it could have would be that of stimulating the reader to have recourse to Mr. Cairnes's own pages.
After sweeping away the idle notion, which never could have been entertained by any one conversant with even the surface of American history, that the quarrel is about tariffs, or anything whatever except slavery, Mr. Cairnes proceeds to the main thesis of his book, viz., that the Slave Power, whose character and aims are tho cause of the American contest, is " the most formidable antagonist to civilized progress which has appeared for many centuries, representing a system of society at once retrograde and aggressive, a system which, containing within it no germs from which improvement can spring, gravitates inevitably towards barbarism, while it is impelled by exigencies inherent in its position and circumstances to a constant extension of its territorial domain." This is what a man of distinguished ability, who has deeply considered the subject, thinks of the new power, which England, by the moral influence of its opinion and sympathies, is helping to raise up. "The vastness," he continues, "of the interests at stake in the American contest, regarded under this aspect, appears to mo to be very inadequately conceived in this country, and the purpose of the present work it to bring forward this view of the case more , prominently than has yet been done."
According!y, in the first place, Mr. Cairnes expounds the economic necessities under which the Slave Power is placed by its fundamental institution. Slavery, as an industrial system, is not capable of being everywhere profitable. It requires peculiar conditions. Originally a common feature of all the Anglo-Saxon settlements in America, it took root and became permanent only in the Southern portion of them. What is the explanation of this fact? Several causes have been assigned. One is, diversity of character in the original founders of those communities; New England having been principally colonized by the middle and poorer classes, Virginia and Carolina by the higher. The fact was so, but it goes a very little way towards the explanation of the phenomenon, since "it is certain the New Englanders were not withheld from employing slaves by moral scruples ;" and if slave labor had been found suitable for the requirements of the country, they would, without doubt, have adopted it in fact, as they actually did in principle. Another common explanation of the different fortune of slavery in the Northern and Southern States is, that the Southern climate is not adapted to white laborers, and that negroes will not work without slavery. The latter half of this statement is opposed to fact. Negroes are willing to work wherever they have the natural inducements to it, inducements equally indispensable to the white race. The climate theory is inapplicable to the Border Slave States, Kentucky, Virginia, and others, whose climate "is remarkably genial, and perfectly suited to the industry of Europeans." Even in the Gulf States, the alleged fact is only true, as it is in all other parts of the world, of particular localities. The Southern States, it is observed by M. de Tocqueville, "are not hotter than the south of Italy and Spain." In Texas itself there is a flourishing colony of free Germans, who carry on all the occupations of the country, growth of cotton included, by white labor; and "nearly all the heavy out-door work in the city of New Orleans is performed by whites."
What the success or failure of slavery as an industrial system depends on, is the adaptation of the productive industry of the country to the qualities and defects of slave labor. There are kinds of cultivation which
even in tropical regions cannot advantageously be carried on by slaves; there are
j others in which, as a mere matter of profit, slave labor has the advantage over the only
I kind of free labor which, as a matter of fact, comes into competition with it—the labor of peasant proprietors.
The economic advantage of slave labor is, that it admits of complete organization: "it may be combined on an extensive scale, and directed by a controlling mind to a single end." Its defects are, that it is given reluctantly; it is unskilful; it is wanting in versatility. Being given reluctantly, it can only be depended on as long as the slave is watched; but the cost of watching is too great if the workmen are dispersed over a widely extended area; their concentration, or, in other words, the employment of many workmen at the same time and place, is a condition sine qua non of slavery as an industrial system; while, to enable it to compete successfully with the intense industry and thrift of workmen who enjoy the entire fruits of their own labor, this concentration and combination of labor must be not merely possible, but also economically preferable. The second disadvantage of slave labor is that it is unskilful: "not only because the slave, having no interest in his work, has no inducement to exert his higher faculties, but because, from the ignorance to which he is of necessity condemned, he is incapable of doing so." This disqualification restricts the profitableness of slavery to the case of purely unskilled labor. "The slave is unsuited for all branches of industry which require the slightest care, forethought, or dexterity. He cannot be made to co-operate with machinery ; he can only be trusted with the commonest implements; he is incapable of all but the rudest labor." The third defect of slave labor is but a form of the second ; its want of versatility. "The difficulty of teaching the slave anything is so great, that the only chance of turning his labor to profit is, when he has once learned a lesson, to keep him to that lesson for life. Where slaves, therefore, are employed, there can be no variety of production. If tobacco be cultivated, tobacco becomes the sole staple, and tobacco is produced whatever be the state of the market, and whatever be the condition of the soil." All this, not as matter of theory merely, but of actual daily experience in the Southern States, is superabundantly proved, as Mr. Cairnes shows, by Southern testimony.
It follows, first, that slave labor is unsuited for manufactures, and can only, in competition with free labor, be profitably carried on in a community exclusively agricultural. Secondly, that even among agricultural employments it U tmsuitcd to those in which the laborers are, or without great economical disadvantage can be, dispersed over a wide surface; among which are nearly all kinds of cereal cultivation, including the two great staples of the Free States, maize and wheat. "A single laborer can cultivate twenty acres of wheat or Indian corn, while he cannot manage more than two of tobacco, or three of cotton." Tobacco and cotton admit, therefore, the possibility of working large numbers within a limited space: and as they also benefit in a far greater degree than wheat or maize by combination and classification of labor, the characteristic advantage of slave labor is at the highest, while its greatest drawback, the high cost of superintendence, is reduced to the minimum. It is to these kinds of cultivation, together with sugar and rice, that in America slave labor is practically confined. Wherever, even in the Southern States, "the external conditions are especially favorable to cereal crops, as in parts of Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri, and along the slopes of the Alleghanies, there slavery has always failed to maintain itself."
But a kind of cultivation suitable to it is not the only condition which the slave system requires in order to be economically profitable. It demands in addition, an unlimited extent of highly fertile land. This arises from the other two infirmities of slave labor, its unskilfulness and its want of versatility. This point being of the very highest importance, and the foundation of the author's main argument, we give the statement of it in his own words:—
"When the soils are not of good quality, cultivation needs to be elaborate; a larger capital is expended, and with the increase of capital the processes become more varied, and the agricultural implements of a finer and more delicate construction. With such implements slaves cannot be trusted, and for sin-ii processes they are unfit. It is only, therefore, where the natural fertility of the soil is so great as to compensate for the in
THUIO SERIES. LIYIMO AGE. 944
feriority of the cultivation, where nature does so much as to leave little for art, and to supersede the necessity of the more difficult contrivances of industry, that slave labor can be turned to profitable account.
"Further, slavery, as a permanent system, has need not merely of a fertile soil, but of a practically unlimited extent of it. This arises from the defect of slave labor in point of versatility. As has been already remarked, the difficulty of teaching the slave anything is so great—the result of the compulsory ignorance in which he is kept, combined with want of intelligent interest in his work—that the only chance of rendering his labor profitable is, when he has once learned a lesson, to keep him to that lesson for life. Accordingly, where agricultural operations are carried on by slaves, the business of each gang is always restricted to the raising of a single product. Whatever crop is best suited to the character of the soil and the nature of slave industry, whether cotton, tobacco, sugar, or rice, that crop is cultivated, and that crop only. Rotation of crops is thus precluded by the conditions of the case. The soil is tasked again and again to yield the same product, and the inevitable result follows. After a short series of years its ferI tility is completely exhausted, the planter , abandons the ground which he has rendered worthless, and passes on to seek in new soils for that fertility under which alone the agencies at his disposal can be profitably i employed."—(Pp. 53-6.)
j Accordingly, the ruin, and in many cases the abandonment to nature, of what were once the most productive portions of the ! older Slave States, are facts palpable to the eye, admitted and loudly proclaimed by slaveholders. And hence that pressing demand for the perpetual extension of the area of slavery, that never-ceasing tendency westward, and unceasing struggle for the opening of fresh regions to slave-owners and their human property, which has grown with the growth of the cotton cultivation, and strengthened with its strength; which pro'duced the seizure of Texas, the war with ! Mexico, the buccaneering expeditions to Cen'tral America, and the sanguinary contest for Kansas; which has been the one determining principle of Southern politics for the last quarter of a century; and because at last, i though tardily, resisted by the North, has decided the Cotton States to break up the Union.
Such being the economic conditions of a slave community like those of the Southern