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priate to himself the lion's skin; but the lion has an equally undoubted right to the man's flesh. The man never thinks of making the lion acknowledge his right to flay bim, or to punish him if he does not submit; he proceeds to force him, to compel him."
This is the argument upon which M. Murat claims a right over the slave. He might skin and eat a negro upon the same showing. But let us go on:
“ The social state produces great changes in the rights of individuals; nevertheless, the three following rules may be laid down as certain.1. Societies act towards each other in the same way as individuals to each other, without being regulated otherwise than by the individual (natural) right. 2. Societies act according to the same right, towards individuals who are strangers to them. 3. The members of a society recover their individual independence towards objects, strangers to the laws of that society."
Whereby we glean, that a black man is merely a species of chattel, not cognizable by the laws of a slave-holding society as a rational being. Farther on, the author argues, that a master has as much right to his slave as he has to his horse. But
“In short, the slave has as much right to resist his master, and to make bis escape, as the master has to appropriate him to bis use, and to compel bim to be obedient. There is no contract between them, consequently no reciprocal right, for one social right can only be founded upon some other. The error has arisen from this, of supposing the slave to be bound to a moral duty of passive obedience, wbich is absurd; for that would suppose a contract where all the advantages are on one side, and all the disadvantages on the other; a contract null ipso facto. The master, notwithstanding, bas as much right to be supported by society in the exercise of his authority over his slave, as in that over bis horse."
This is what a great sage would have called “ lawyer's law.” What advantages does the slave possess ? His master keeps him in working order, to get all he can out of his carcase, and would work him to death if he could thereby get a greater profit, and could supply the waste by purchase. Where is the barrier against " passive obedience?” The will of the master, who is both adversary and judge. But let us do the author full justice. Hear what he
further on : " It is true, that there is no law to protect the slave from his master's bad treatment; but there is in public opinion a much stronger protection than in all laws; the man who would allow his passions to get the better of him, in the manner I have seen described by English writers, would forfeit for ever the character of a gentleman.”
Alas for the lot of the poor negroes, if this be their only resource! There is no law to protect them, but if their master were to ill use them, he would be esteemed no gentleman! Just such would be the case were a man wantonly to ill use his horses. But alter the case—make the ill treatment of the negroes a matter of mercantile profit—let a man be assured that he could realize his capital by working his negroes to death-how long would this prestige of gentility operate beneficially for the slaves? Not one hour. The communion of profit would make a communion of cruelty, and he would be esteemed a fool who failed to tread in the common track. M. Murat had better at once take another ground, and seriously set about proving that the negroes are not men at all, but merely inferior animals. So long as he fails to make good this position, so long as the negroes are acknowledged to be men, so long will the whites sustain more degradation in holding them as slaves than the blacks do in being so held.
“The public opinion in the southern states is, I believe, that slavery is necessary, but that it is an evil. I am far from looking at the matter in this light; on the contrary, I am tempted to consider it, in certain periods of the existence of nations, as a good.” “If, in political economy, slavery has the result of facilitating the peopling of our southern countries, its effect upon society is not less advantageous. The planter, relieved from all manual labour, bas much more time to cultivate his understanding. The babit of considering himself morally responsible for the fate of a great number of persons, gives to his character a kind of austere dignity wbich conduces to virtue, and which, tempered by the arts, sciences and literature, contributes to form of the southern planter one of the most perfect models of the human race. His house is open to all comers with a generous hospitality; his purse is but too frequently so, to profusion. The babit of being obeyed gives him a noble fierté in treating with his equals, that is to say, with every white man, and an independence of ideas in political and religious matters, which form a perfect contrast with the reserve and hypocrisy which we too often meet with in the North. Towards his slaves his conduct is that of a father rather than a master, for he is too powerful to be cruel.”
“ Compare the elections in the great cities of the North and of the South; what tumult in the one, what calm in the other! In the North the inferior classes of society take possession tumultuously of the place of election, and, by their indecent conduct, drive from it as it were every well-educated and enlightened man. In the South, on the contrary, all the inferior classes are black, tongue-tied, slaves. The educated classes conduct the elections quietly and rationally, and it is, perhaps, to that alone that the superiority of talent exbibited by the southern members in the Congress is attributable."
Be it remarked, en passant, that the author himself was for several years one of the slaveholders whom he represents as such “ perfect models of the human race.”
“ In all countries, and at all times, a great majority of mankind is condemned to subsist by manual labour, and I have not the least doubt but that this portion of society is much more happy and much more useful in a state of slavery than in any other. Compare the lot of our negroes, well clothed, well fed, with no care for the morrow and no anxiety for their family; compare them, I say—pot with the degraded race of free negroes and mulattos, having the whole weight of liberty without a single one of its advantages, but—with the white labourers of Europe, working twice or thrice as much, and constantly on the verge of starvation, both them and their families. I have no besitation in saying that our negroes are not only much happier than the operatives of the English manufacturing towns, but even than the peasantry generally throughout Europe.”
If this argument be a good one, England is at present in a most false position. The ministry and the people are in fault
, and the plans of the Holy Alliance are those best calculated to promote human happiness. All the industrious classes of all countries, whether whites or blacks, ought to be slaves, and the days of July must be held as the overthrow of human happiness. M. Murat assuredly ought not to have been persecuted in the manner he complains of, by the European powers; for he is evidently a good friend to their system, and it were wiser for them at once to admit him into their clique, parvenu though he be. Dionysius the tyrant kept a school when he could no longer rule grown people; and M. Murat, the Ex-prince Royal, takes to governing black slaves in America. But his argument is unsound. It may be true that the present condition of the free workmen of Englaud is physically worse than that of the American slaves; but there is this difference, that the former can improve their condition indefinitely, by the exercise of their own energy and discretion; whereas nothing which the latter can do, short of operating upon the fears of their masters, can help them. It is said in the old classic fable, that when the box of Pandora was opened, evils innumerable few about the world, but Hope remained at the bottom. The black slaves have no hope, because their masters will ever keep them in a state of ignorance, in order to rule them more easily; but with regard to the European workmen, whenever they resolve to limit the supply of labour to the demand there is for it,-in other words, whenever their numbers cease to be above the existing supply of food,—they will gradually rise in the scale of happiness, and be perfectly capable of appreciating the advantages of freedom, which M. Murat appears to consider them at present unfitted for. But what must be the state of a man's intellect who can seriously declare that the possession of black slaves “ gives to the character a species of austere dignity which conduces to virtue?” If dignity there be, it would rather be found in the poor slave who bears with patience the injustice of his lot, than in the inflictor of the injustice.
“ Bad is all slavery, but far less degrading,
To black men traded, than to white men trading !"
Much has been written on both sides of the question with regard to negro slavery, but it has been rather with the furious spirit of partizanship, than in the calmness of philosophic research. We can more readily excuse the philanthropists for their enthuiasm, because they err in behalf of the better feelings of human nature; but we regret that they should injure their cause by it. Great pains have been taken to represent the blacks as capable of equalling the whites in intellect if they were instructed. This is not true of the present race, whatever may be the case in future times; and M. Murat is partly correct in affirming, that “the black race of men is incontestably inferior to the white.” If proofs were wanting, look at the fact, that in the West India islands, one white man holds nearly ten black men in a state of forced subjection, which is most distasteful to them. Were the case reversed-one black holding ten whites in forced subjection -how long would it endure? Not a day. The very working tools would prove the weapons of freedom. But, with the exception of Haiti, the negroes have never been able to get up an effective plot; they are evidently infirm of purpose: and even in the island of Jamaica, when the Maroons * had beaten the white troops, they were frightened into submission by some twenty bloodhounds and chasseurs brought from Cuba-frightened even without seeing them. What peculiar excellence have the negroes ever been found to possess? There have been many good mechanics amongst them, and some writers, poets inclusive. But what have they been, more than mere imitators? No great invention, no books of high merit, have been produced by them. Their physical construction is awkward and unshapely; their heads betray no capacity for the developement of high intellectual faculties, and their power of language is exceedingly imperfect. Cunning in them for the most part supplies the place of what in the whites is wisdom. Professor Lawrence says of them—
“ To expect that the Africans can be raised by any culture to an equal height in moral sentiments and intellectual energy with Europeans, appears to me quite as unreasonable as it would be to hope that the bull-dog may equal the greyhound in speed: that the latter may be taught to hunt by scent, like the hound; or that the mastiff may rival in talents and acquirements the sagacious and docile poodle." +
What remedy is there then, our readers will ask? Must America ever be cursed with the infliction of slavery? M. Murat has answered the question, and, we think, in a satisfactory manner.
* From the Spanisb word cimarron, signifying wild, unconquered.
† We do not agree with the professor as io what may be in future times, but confirm his opinion as to the present existing race.
“ Formerly slavery was general in the United States, but in proportion as free labour has become cheaper, the legislatures have abolished it. The same thing is now taking place under our eyes in Virginia and Maryland, where the population having increased, the price of labour and of negroes has climinished. The proprietors get rid of them as fast as they can; these negroes are purchased for the new states, in which labour is dear. In a few years there will be scarcely any slaves in these two states, and the legislatures will do well, for form's sake, to abolish slavery in them. The same thing will happen in time in all the states, present and future, and the Union will be at last fairly rid of this domestic plague.”
This is precisely the mode in which the abolition of slavery must take place in the Union, for to suppose that the slaveholders will give up what they have been taught to consider their property, and many of them possessing no other property, is a hopeless case, because they have the power of maintaining it; and if the negroes were enlightened enough to give regular battle for their freedom, the whites, from their superior intelligence, would slaughter them by thousands. The writer of this article was once rambling over the estate of Mount Vernon, in Virginia, formerly the property of General Washington, and, having lost his way, entered into conversation with an old negress, in the course of which she burst into a long tirade against the Virginian landholders, who were selling off their slaves to the southern markets, and in some cases giving them their freedom. She herself had formerly been a slave on the estate of Mount Vernon, but had been free six years, and concluded by wishing that she were a slave still, for in that state she had nothing to think of, whereas, being free, she could hardly make a living. Let not the antiabolitionists quote this as an evidence in their favour. It is but another proof added to the many others, how debasing a thing slavery must be when it deprives human beings of the capacity of self-dependance.
The test of experience has made it very clear, that the whites and blacks cannot live on one territory in a state of equality, any more than the whites and red men. They never mix, except to assume the position of master and servant, or of master and slave. They cannot associate together, for they are incapable of conversing upon the same subjects; and, moreover, the peculiar odour emanating from the bodies of negroes, even when cleanly, more especially in a warm climate, renders them personally unpleasant to white people. Those who have not lived amongst them cannot judge of this matter, but those who have will readily agree to our statement. There are individuals of the white races from whom a strong musky odour is emitted, unpleasant enough, it is true, but not comparable with that of the negro, which re