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alliance. The book from which I have before read contains the first public annunciation of that happy reconciliation of conflicting interests, personal and political, which brought the east and west together, and locked in a fraternal embrace the two great orators of the east and west. Sir, it was on the 18th January, 1825, while the result of the presidential election, in the House of Representatives was still doubtful, while the whole country was looking with intense anxiety to that legislative hall where the mighty drama was so soon to be acted, that we saw the leaders of two great parties in the house and in the nation, “taking sweet counsel together,” and in a celebrated debate on the Cumberland road, fighting side by side for western interests. It was on that memorable occasion that the senator from Massachusetts held out the white flag to the west, and uttered those liberal sentiments which he yesterday so indignantly repudiated. Then it was, that that happy union between the members of the celebrated coalition was consummated, whose immediate issue was a president from one quarter of the Union, with the succession (as it was supposed) secured to another. The “American system,” before a rude, disjointed, and mishapen mass, now assumed form and consistency. Then it was that it became “the settled policy of the government,” that this system should be so administered as to create a reciprocity of interests and a reciprocal distribution of government favors, east and west, (the tariff and internal improvements) while the south—yes, sir, the impracticable south — was to be “out of your protection.” The gentleman may as boast much as he pleases of the friendship of New England for the west, as displayed in their support of internal improvement; but when he next introduces that topic, I trust that he will tell us when that friendship commenced, how it was brought about, and why it was established. Before I leave this topic, I must be permitted to say that the true character of the policy now pursued by the gentleman from Massachusetts and his friends, in relation to appropriations of land and money, for the benefit of the west, is in my estimation very similar to that pursued by Jacob of old toward his brother Esau: “it robs them of their birthright for a mess of pottage.” The gentleman from Massachusetts, in alluding to a remark of mine, that before any disposition could be made of the public lands, the national debt (for which they stand pledged) must be first paid, took occasion to intimate “that the extraordinary fervor which seems to exist in a certain quarter, (meaning the south, sir.) for the payment of the debt, arises from a disposition to weaken the ties which bind the people to the Union.” While the gentleman deals us this blow, he professes an ardent desire to see the debt speedily extinguished. He must excuse me, however, for feeling some distrust on that subject until I find this disposition manifested by something stronger than professions. I shall look for acts, decided and unequivocal acts; for the performance of which an opportunity will very soon (if I am not greatly mistaken) be afforded. Sir, if I were at liberty to judge of the course which that gentleman would pursue, from the principles which he has laid down in relation to this matter, I should be bound to conclude that he will be found acting with those with whom it is a darling object to prevent the payment of the public debt. He tells us he is desirous of paying the debt, “because We are under an obligation to discharge it.” Now, sir, suppose it should happen that the public creditors, with whom we have contracted the obligation, should release us from it, so far as to declare their willingness to wait for pay. ont for fifty years, provided only the interest shall be punctually discharged. The gentleman from Massachusetts will then be released from the obligation which now makes him desirous of paying the debt; and, let me tell the gentleman, the holders of the stock will not only release us from this obligation, but they will implore, nay, they will even pay us not to pay them. But, adds the gentleman, so far as the debt may have an effectin binding the debtors to the country, and thereby serving as a link to hold the states together, he would be glad that it should exist forever. Surely then, sir, on the gentleman's own principles, he must be opposed to the payment of the debt. Sir, let me tell that gentleman, that the South repudiates the idea that a pecuniary dependence on the federal government is one of the legitimate means of holding the states together. A moneyed interest in the government is essentially a base interest; and just so far as it operates to bind the feelings of those who are subjected to it to the government—just so far as it operates in creating sympathies and interests that would not otherwise exist, — is it opposed to all the principles of free government, and at war with virtue and patriotism. Sir, the link which binds the public creditors, as such, to their country, binds them equally to all governments, whether arbitrary or free. In a free government, this principle of abject dependence, if extended through all the ramifications of society, must be fatal to liberty. Already have we made alarming strides in that direction. The entire class of manufacturers, the holders of stocks, with their hundreds of millions of capital, are held to the government by the strong link of pecuniary interests; millions of people — entire sections of country, interested or believing themselves to be so, in the public lands, and the public treasure — are bound to the government by the expectation of pecuniary favors. If this system is carried much further, no man can fail to see that every generons motive of attachment to the country will be destroyed, and in its place will spring up those low, grovelling, base and selfish feelings which bind men to the footstool of a despot by bonds as strong and enduring as those which attach them to free institutions. Sir, I would lay the foundation of this government in the affections of the people — I would teach them to cling to it by dispensing equal justice, and above all, by securing the “blessings of liberty” to “themselves and to their posterity.” The honorable gentleman from Massachusetts has gone out of his way to pass a high eulogium on the state of OHIO. In the most impassioned tones of eloquence, he described her majestic march to greatness. He told us, that, having already left all the other states far behind, she was now passing by Virginia and Pennsylvania, and about to take her station by the side of New York. To all this, sir, I was disposed most cordially to respond. When, however, the gentleman proceeded to contrast the state of Ohio with Kentucky, to the disadvantage of the latter, I listened to him with regret; and when he proceeded further to attribute the great, and, as he supposed, acknowledged superiority of the former in population, wealth, and general prosperity, to the policy of Nathan Dane, of Massachusetts, which had secured to the people of Ohio (by the ordinance of ’87) a population of freemen, I will confess that my feelings suffered a revulsion which I am now unable to describe in any language sufficiently respectful towards the gentleman from Massachusetts. In contrasting the state of Ohio with Kentucky, for the purpose of pointing out the superiority of the former, and of attributing that superiority to the existence of slavery in the one state, and its absence in the other, I thought I could discern the very spirit of the Missouri question, intruded into this debate, for objects best known to the gentleman himself. Did that gentleman, sir, when he formed the determination to cross the southern border, in order to invade the state of South Carolina, deem it prudent or necessary to enlist under his banners the prejudices of the world, which, like Swiss troops, may be engaged in any cause, and are prepared to serve under any leader? Did he desire to avail himself of those remorseless allies, the passions of mankind, of which it may be more truly said than of the savage tribes of the wilderness, “that their known rule of warfare is an indiscriminate slaughter of all ages, sexes, and conditions”? Or was it supposed, sir, that in a premeditated and unprovoked attack upon the south, it was advisable to begin by a gentle admonition of our supposed weakness, in order to prevent us from making that firm and manly resistance due to our own character and our dearest interests? Was the significant hint of the weakness of slaveholding states, when contrasted with the superior strength of free states, – like the glare of the weapon half drawn from its scabbard, – intended to enforce the lessons of prudence and of patriotism, which the gentleman had resolved, out of his abundant generosity, gratuitously to bestow upon us? Mr. President, the impression which has gone abroad of the weakness of the south, as connected with the slave question, exposes us to such constant attacks, has done us so much injury, and is calculated to produce such infinite mischiefs, that I embrace the occasion presented by the remarks of the gentleman of Massachusetts, to declare that we are ready to meet the question promptly and fearlessly. It is one from which we are not disposed to shrink, in whatever form or under whatever circumstances it may be pressed upon us. . We are ready to make up the issue with the gentleman, as to the influence of slavery on individual or national character—on the prosperity and greatness, either of the United States or of particular states. Sir, when arraigned before the bar of public opinion, on this eharge of slavery, we can stand up with conscious rectitude, plead not guilty, and put ourselves upon God and our country. Sir, we will not consent to look at slavery in the abstract. We will not stop to inquire whether the black man, as some philosophers have contended, is of an inferior race, nor whether his color and condition are the effects of a curse inflicted for the offences of his ancestors. We deal in no abstractions. We will not look back to inquire whether our fathers were guiltless in introducing slaves into this country. If an inquiry should ever be instituted in these matters, however, it will be found that the profits of the slave trade were not confined to the south. Southern ships and southern sailors were not the instruments of bringing slaves to the shores of America, nor lid our merchants reap the profit of that “accursed traffic.” But, sir, we will pass over all this. If slavery, as it now exists in this country, be an evil, we of the present day found it ready made to our hands. Finding our lot cast among a people whom God had manifestly committed to our care, we did not sit down to speculate on abstract questions of theoretical liberty. We met it as a practical question of obligation and duty. We resolved to make the best of the situation in which Providence had placed us, and to fulfil the high trusts which had devolved upon us as the owners of slaves, in the only way in which such a trust could be fulfilled, without spreading misery add ruin throughout the land. We found that we had to deal with a people whose physical, moral, and intellectual habits and character totally disqualified them from the enjoyment of the blessings of freedom. We could not send them back to the shores from whence their fathers had been taken; their numbers forbade the thought, even if we did not know that their condition here is infinitely preferable to what it possibly could be among the barren sands and savage tribes of Africa; and it was wholly irreconcilable with all our notions
of humanity to tear asunder the tender ties which they had formed among us, . to gratify the feelings of a false philanthropy. What a commentary on the wisdom, justice, and humanity of the southern slave owner is presented by the example of certain benevolent associations and charitable individuals elsewhere! Shedding weak tears over sufferings which had existence in their own sickly imaginations, these “friends of humanity” set themselves systematically to work to seduce the slaves of the south from their masters. By means of missionaries and political tracts, the scheme was in a great measure successful. Thousands of these deluded victims of fanaticism were seduced into the enjoyment of freedom in our northern cities. And what has been the consequence? Go to these cities now and ask the question. Visit the dark and narrow lanes, and obscure recesses, which have been assigned by common consent as the abodes of those outcasts of the world, the free people of color. Sir, there does not exist, on the face of the whole earth, a population so poor, so wretched, so vile, so loathsome, so utterly destitute of all the comforts, conveniences, and decencies of life, as the unfortunate blacks of Philadelphia, and New York, and Boston. Liberty has been to them the greatest of calamities, the heaviest of curses. Sir, I have had some opportunities of making comparison between the condition of the free negroes of the north and the slaves of the south, and the comparison has left not only an indelible impression of the superior advantages of the latter, but has gone far to reconcile me to slavery itself. Never have I felt so forcibly that touching description, “the foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head,” as when I have seen this unhappy race, naked and houseless, almost starving in the streets, and abandoned by all the world. Sir, I have seen in the neighborhood of one of the most moral, religious, and refined cities of the north, a family of free blacks, driven to the caves of the rocks, and there obtaining a precarious subsistence from charity and plunder. When the gentleman from Massachusetts adopts and reiterates the old charge of weakness as resulting from slavery, I must be permitted to call for the proof of those blighting effects which he ascribes to its influence. I suspect that when the subject is closely examined, it will be found that there is not much force even in the plausible objection of the want of physical power in slaveholding states. The power of a country is compounded of its population and its wealth, and in modern times, where, from the very form and structure of society, by far the greater portion of the people must, even during the continuance of the most desolating wars, be employed in the cultivation of the soil and other peaceful pursuits, it may be well doubted whether slaveholding states, by reason of the superior value of their productions, are not able to maintain a number of troops in the field fully equal to what could be supported by states with a larger white population, but not possessed of equal resources. It is a popular error to suppose that, in any possible state of things, the people of a country could ever be called out en masse, or that a half, or a third, or even a fifth part of the physical force of any country could ever be brought into the field. The difficulty is not to procure men, but to provide the means of maintaining them; and in this view of the subject, it may be asked whether the Southern States are not a source of strength and power, and not of weakness to the country—whether they have not contributed, and are not now contributing, largely to the wealth and prosperity of every state in this Union. From a statement which I hold in my hand, it appears that in ten years—from 1818 to 1827, inclusive — the whole amount of the domestic exports of the United States was $521,811,045; of which three articles, (the product of slave labor) viz., cotton, rice, and tobacco, amounted to
$339,203,232 equal to about two thirds of the whole. It is not true, as has been supposed, that the advantage of this labor is confined almost exclusively to the Southern States. Sir, I am thoroughly convinced that, at this time, the states north of the Potomac actually derive greater profits from the labor of our slaves than we do ourselves. It appears from our public documents, that in seven years. – from 1821 to 1827, inclusive — the six Southern States exported $190,337,281, and imported only $55,646,301. Now, the difference between these two sums (near $140,000,000) passed through the hands of the northern merchants, and enabled them to carry on their commercial operations with all the world. Such part of these goods as found its way back to our hands came charged with the duties, as well as the profits, of the merchant, the ship owner, and a host of others, who found employment in carrying on these immense exchanges; and for such part as was consumed at the north, we received in exchange northern manufactures, charged with an increased price, to cover all the taxes which the northern consumer had been compelled to pay on the imported article. It will be seen, therefore, at a glance, how much slave labor has contributed to the wealth and prosperity of the United States, and how largely our northern brethren have participated in the profits of that labor. Sir, on this subject I will quote an authority, which will, I doubt not, be considered by the senator from Massachusetts as entitled to high respect. It is from the great father of the “American System,” honest Matthew Carey no great friend, it is true, at this time, to southern rights and southern interests, but not the worst authority on that account, on the point in question.
Speaking of the relative importance to the Union of the SOUTHERN and the EASTERN STATES, Matthew Carey, in the sixth edition of his Olive Branch, (p. 278,) after exhibiting a number of statistical tables to show the decided superiority of the former
, thus proceeds:" But I am tired of this investigation - I sicken for the honor of the human species. What idea must the world form of the arrogance of the pretensions of the one side, [the east) and of the folly and weakness of the rest of the Union, to have so long suffered them to pass without exposure and detection. The naked fact is
, that the demagogues in the Eastern States, not satisfied with deriving all the benefit from the southern section of the Union that they would from so many wealthy colonies — with making princely fortunes by the carriage and exportation of its bulky and valuable productions, and sup plying it with their own manufactures, and the productions of Europe and the East and West Indies, to an enormous amount, and at an immense profit, have uniformly treated it with outrage, insult, and injury. And, regardless of their vital interests, the Eastern States were lately courting their own destruction, by allowing a few restless, turbulent men to lead them blindfolded to a separation which was pregnant with their certain ruin. Whenever that event takes place, they sink into insignificance. If a separation were desirable to any part of the Union, it would be to the Middle and Southern States, particularly the latter, who have been so long harassed with the complaints, the restlessness, the turbulence, and the ingratitude of the Eastern States that their patience has been tried alunost beyond endurance. “Jeshurun waxed fat and kicked and he will be severely punished for his kicking, in the event of a dissolution of the Union." Sir, I wish it to be distinctly understood that I do not adopt these sentiments as my own.
quote them to show that very different sentiments have prevailed in former times as to the weakness of the slaveholding states from those which now seem to have become fashionable in certain quar