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THE

WESTERN JOURNAL.

Volume 1.]

MAY, 1848.

(Number V.

ART. 1.-SLAVERY IN THE UNITED STATES. ALTHOUGH man is so constituted that by the aid of artificial means he can exist upon every part of the globe, yet, both his physical and moral condition is greatly influenced by climate and other physical causes. The effects flowing from these causes, and the influence which they exert over the individual and social character of the inhabitants of the several divisions of the earth, are legitimate subjects of inquiry for the natural and social economist, and address themselves to the consideration of the people of every country.

These influences impress themselves upon the moral, political and religious institutions as well as upon the philosophy of every people, and finally give direction to their destiny. The statesman, the philosopher, or the divine, who has not made himself acquainted with this subject so as to enable him to perceive and appreciate its bearings upon the human character, is, to a great extent, in. competent to discharge the, duties of his functions, and therefore liable to do injury, rather than to promote the cause in which he labors. The inhabitants of every clime are continually operated upon, and acting under these influences, without perceiving their force; and each wonders at the stupidity of those of other and different climes, in adopting and observing habits and customs so different from their own. He, therefore, who shall endeavor to remove and obliterate these influences must Jabor in vain; they are part and parcel of man's nature, and cannot be eradicated. They are, however, subject to modification, and are the legitimate agents to be used in giving direction to the genius and civilization of the people of every climate.

To the people of the United States, this subject is one of more than ordinary interest, arising from the fact that our territory extends through so many degrees. of latitude, and embraces so many different interests.

The population of the United States, although coming principally from the same region, began to exhibit the effects of climate shortly after its settlement in

VOL. I, NO. -24

this country. In traveling from Maine to Georgia, the change is so gradual that we scarcely perceive it until we have arrived at the end of our journey; then, if we look around us, we shall find ourselves in the midst of a people differing from those we had seen in Maine in almost every thing which meets the eye, or addresses itseli to the ear. We shall find the people here engaged in pursuits adapted to the climate, and cherishing an institution which the northern people have long since abolished, because it was not suited to their latitude. The phi. losopher would appreciate these facts and perceive the true cause ; but he would find no reason to condemn the southern people for retaining this institution, nos would he discover any merit in those of the north for abolishing it. He would see that both bad acted in obedience to the laws of natural economy, operating through the agency of climate, and would be surprised to find that ibis institution should have become the subject of much excitement and unkind feeling between the people of the north and those of the south.

Looking with painful emotions upon the excitement and disquietude arising from the institution of slavery in the southern States, and being satisfied that the origin of this excitement can be referred to no adequate and just cause, we are induced to offer the result of our reflections upon the subject. In doing so, we shall endeavor to place it upon what we esteem its true basis, and discuss it upon the principles of natural and social economy. - Man requires more exercise, as well as more food and clothing, in a cold than in a hot climate. These demands stimulate hiin to both physical labor and mental improvement. But in high northern latitudes the long and severely cold winters allow of so little profitable employment in the year, that the labor which can be performed during summer is barely sufficient to supply the wants of winter, and the progress of civilization is retarded from a lack of accumulated wealth, and of commercial and social intercourse with more favored climes. As we proceed towards the equator, the physical inducements to labor gradually lose their power, and moral and social inducements are substituted in their stead.

In the temperate zone these two—the physical and moral inducements-combine to produce the highest state of civilization to which man is capable of attain. ing. Here the necessity of providing for winter is sufficient to stimulate him to labor during the other seasons, and his labors producing more than is required for the mere wants of existence, a surplus accumulates and constitutes wealth ; and thus a portion of the inhabitants are, to some extent, relieved from the necessity of appropriating all their time and labor to the production of articles of mere necessity, and employ themselves in improving the mind and in producing works of art.

Proceeding still further towards the equator, we find man in the torrid zone almost exempt from the necessity of labor. Here nature produces spontaneously almost every thing which he requires for food; he requires neither shelter nor clothing to protect him from the cold; and lacking those powerful physical influ.

ences which stimulate the inhabitants of colder climes, he becomes indolent and prone to relaxation of both body and mind. His propensities and passions, stimulated by the climate, gain the ascendancy over his moral nature, and he remains in ignorance, and the worst state of barbarism, perhaps, known to man.

Although this is a condition naturally arising from climate, it is not, however, a necessary and inevitable result. In regard to climate, the inhabitants of the tropics were more favored than those of any other part of the earth ; relieved from the strong physical necessity of labor, which was imposed upon the inhab- . itants of colder regions, they were in a condition to appropriate more of their time to intellectual improvement, and to the general purposes of civilization. The advantages afforded by the climate were equal to a vast amount of accumulated wealth, which, if properly appreciated, would have made them the most enlightened people of the earth. From these causes we should naturally look to the region of the tropics for the earliest dawnings of civilization; and, so far as we can trust history, this was the case in the old world, and the monumental ruins of Central America bear evidence that it was also the case upon this continent. It may be asked why this early state of civilization was not sustained and improved ? We answer, because the natural advantages of the climate, constituting a condition of wealth similar in its consequences to the large accumulated wealth in other climates, the inhabitants of the former, like the wealthy individuals of the latter, indulged in idleness and vice, which sooner or later, inevitably results in degradation. As well might we expect that the rich and luxurious citizen of Rome, in the days of the Empire, would go out to labor, as that the African would leave the cool shade, and expose himself to toil under the direct rays of a tropical sun, unless urged to it by some powerful physical cause. And hence it is, that slavery has always existed in some form or other in Africa, and other tropical regions. And whether the institution be domestic or political, the rod is the same and only impelling power, and without its influence the inhabitants of these regions cease to labor and to enlarge the means of supporting an increase of population. By continued wars, and the sale of captives into slavery, the increase of population is prevented; and thus they are made the instruments of thrusting themselves out of the land which they refuse to cultivate, and are compelled to labor in foreign climes. These are the causes which have sent the Africans to our shores, and placed them in the hands of our ancestors, from whom they have descended to the present generation. That the condition of the Africans has been greatly im. proved by their transportation hither, no one can doubt who has any knowledge of the present condition of the race in this, and their own country. And, while working out their own improvement, they have been made a powerful agent in promoting the advancement of civilization throughout christendom, and, perhaps, throughout the whole earth. By the great surplus which they produce over the quantity which they consume, an immense addition is annually made to the wealth and comfort of all nations who, either directly or indirectly, participate in

our commerce. This, of itself, is almost sufficient to account for the unparalelled improvement which has taken place within the present century in the condition of the poorer classes of the countries with which we have commercial intercourse. Without this institution it is altogether probable that neither cotton nor sugar would, up to the present time, have been cultivated in this country as an article of commerce. Hitherto slavery has been the most important agent in developing the resources of every part of the country, as well in the north as in the south; and we can perceive no reason why the agency of slave labor will be less important to our future prosperity than it has been to the past. The mind of the civilized world is awakened to the subject of ameliorating the general condition of labor; and while this mighty change is progressing, it is important that it should be sustained by some great source of over production, like that of slave labor in the United States--for, if such a revolution should happen as would materially reduce the quantity of cotton grown in the United States for a series of years in succession, it would produce a revulsion in the leading pursuits of both Europe and America, which would seriously retard the improvements of the age.

But with all these causes and effects in view, there are those in the United States, who are ever laboring to produce excitement in regard to Slavery. The original agitators were of that unfortunate class of individuals who are more zealous than wise. Seizing upon the abstract proposition that slavery is an evil, they overlook all the causes which may have led to its existence; they are blind to the effects which it is producing upon the slaves, as well as to the advantages which are evidently accruing to the rest of the world; and more than all, with a total disregard of the rights of the owner, and the laws of the country, and at the hazard of a servile war, they would set the African free. These are the fanatics, whose numbers we believe to be small, and we sincerely hope that no occasion will arise that will tend to increase them. But, although few in number, they are ever active and vigilant in pursuing their object, and not. withstanding they are blind in regard to every thing else, they are shrewd in regard to this. They understand as by instinct the kind of individuals upon whom they can operate and bring over to their faith, and are ever on the watch to acquire influence in the politics of the country. The demagogue, (a fanatic also in one sense of the term,) always upon the look out for strength, is ever found ready to serve those who will promise him suppor--and thus a league is formed between these two disorganizers, whereby the quiet and happiness of a nation is disturbed.

We are, however, constrained to believe that there are very many good and sensible individuals among those who are denominated abolitionists, who conscientiously believing that slavery is an evil-and, perhaps, a national sin-and not having examined the subject, feel it their duty to act with the opposing party, without apprehending the injury which may result from such a connection. Such individuals are still open to reason, and to them we desire to address our views, In the first place, it requires no argument to prove, that the government of the United States has no power to control in any way, the subject of slavery in the several States. Nor can it rightfully object to the admission of the people of a territory into the Union, upon the ground that their constitution recognizes the institution of slavery. Nor do we admit that within the spirit of the constitution, Congress possesses the right to prohibit slavery in the territory of the United States; for the reason that all territory belonging to the general government ought of right to be free to the citizens of every State, and that they ought to be prolected in the possession and enjoyment of any property, the right of which was guaranteed to them by the State from which they emigrated; otherwise the owner of slaves could not settle in a territory without making a sacrifice, not required of him from a non-slaveholding State.

It is not, however, our purpose to argue a question of constitutional law. Congress has long since agreed upon a line of compromise, and we hope that all parties will religiously observe it. But all this discussion in regard to the territorial boundary of slavery, is a war with shadows. There is no danger that slavery will proceed north, and if it were legalized to the latitude of forty-nine degrees it would make little or no difference in the final result. Natural laws will in time overrule all legislative enactments. White, or free labor from the north, will press upon slave labor and take its place, until the white laborer has reached a climate uncongenial to his nature. By the operation of these laws, the more northern slaveholling States will abolish slavery, and as the Africans move south, there will continue to be fewer white men mixed with them, until the two races shall be separated; this result must sever the relation of master and slave, and change the domestic into a political institution. This will place within the tropical regions of the American Continent, a race of men who in their physiolog. ical conformation, were created for the climate. Enured 10 labor, practically acquainted with the useful arts, and purged from the barbarous customs and superstitions of their race in other countries, they will make the tropical portion of America the most productive part of the globe. The continent being narrow in this region, this population will occupy it from sea to sea, and hold a position which will enable it to supply both sides of the continent with tropical products, from Kamschatka to Terre del Fuego, on the west, and from Cape Horn to Labrador, on the east. By no other race of men can this region be made so productive, and their location here will give immense force 10 American commerce, and to American institutions. For the purpose of consummating this result, the United States must continue in some way, to influence and control the African populaiion. The particular character and form of the relation which will exist between the two races must be determined by the circumstances as they arise.

But the time must arrive, when by the increase of the population of both North and South America, the white race will press upon the tropics from both sides, so as to crowd the increased population of the black race. This will induce the

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