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feeling is likewise reported to exist among the serfs of Russia Proper, who, in many cases, prefer the certainty of slavery to the risks of emancipation. Mr. Featherstonhaugh, in his Travels in the Slave States of North America, relates that Mr. Madison, the ex-President, informed him that he had once assembled all his numerous slaves, and offered to manumit them immediately; “but they instantly declined it, alleging that they had been born on his estate, had always been provided for by him with raiment and food, in sickness and in health, and, if they were made free, they would have no home to go to, and no friend to protect and care for them. They preferred, therefore, to live and die as his slaves, who had always been a kind master to them.”
Slavery excludes the principle of competition, which reduces the wages of the free laborer, increases his hours of work, and sometimes deprives him of all means of subsistence. The maintenance of slaves as one household, or familia, likewise conduces to thrift; their supply on a large scale is, or ought to be, less expensive than when each laborer, as in a state of freedom, has a separate cottage and a family of his own. With slaves thus supported, there is no more waste than with horses or cattle. There is none of the loss or damage which arises from the drunkenness and improvidence of the free laborer espending his own wages. Again, the slave-master can regulate the number of his workmen, and can in this manner control the amount of population. The means may doubtless be harsh and cruel, but they are effective for their end. In general, indeed, slave classes show a disposition to diminish rather than increase in number;
and, where the slave trade has not been prohibited, the number is kept up rather by new importation than by births. Hence the evils of an abundant population never manifested themselves while the mass of the people was in a servile and semi-servile state. Moreover, it can scarcely be doubted, that under certain circumstances industry may be promoted, and the produce of the land increased, by the existence of a slave class. Mr. M'Culloch, indeed, thinks that the tropical countries can never be effectually cultivated by free labor. “Were the slaves completely emancipated in the United States, Cuba, and Brazil,” says he, “it is all but certain that the culture of sugar and cotton would be as completely abandoned in them as in Hayti. And if the change were accompanied by a considerable improvement in the condition of the black population, the sacrifice might not, perhaps, be deemed too great. But where is the ground for supposing that such would be the case ? Indeed, the fair presumption seems to be the other way. Little, at all events, would be gained by turning a laborious, well-fed slave, into an idle, improvident, and perhaps beggarly freeman." If we look merely to the present, and confine our views to economical results, Mr. M'Culloch's arguments certainly appear strong. And although it is true that all hope of future improvement, in respect of his physical condition, is denied to the slave, yet it must be admitted, that practically, and looking to the actual generation, the absence of a power of rising in the world is no severe privation to a peasant class. Neither in England among the agricultural laborers, nor in the Continental States among the small proprietors, are there many instances of
a person quitting the condition in which he is born. Nor is any slavery so indellible (where the slaves have the same colored skin as their masters) as to prevent frequent emancipations of individual slaves from personal affection and other causes.
The freedmen formed a numerous class among the Romans; and it is known to what important posts slaves have risen in the Turkish empire.
After these remarks, (the intention of which cannot be misunderstood by any reader of this Journal,) we can better estimate the effects of the change from slavery to personal freedom, upon the emancipated slave. He is relieved from the liabilities and burdens, but he at the same time forfeits the advantages of slavery. Wbile the slave is exonerated from his legal obligations to his master, the master is exonerated from his legal and moral obligations towards his slave, and his interest in the conservation and protection of his slave is at an end. The slave (to use the common phrase) becomes his own master. With the acquisition of this power, he incurs the obligations of self-support. He becomes independent; and, being so, he must provide for his self-defence. Self-dominion is not an unmixed good to the work. It imports onerous duties. It implies the necessity of providing for a man's own wants, and those of his family. The freedman is no longer forced, by the fear of corporal punishment, to do a prescribed task of work. But he must work in order to earn wages; and, what is more, he must find work for himself. He is no longer incapable of acquiring property, or of reaping the fruits of his own industry. But be is, in consideration of this power, bound to provide for his own support. He is no longer incapable of con
tracting a lawful marriage, or begetting free legitimate children. But he is bound to maintain his wife and children by his own exertions; and if he deserts them, or allows them to starve, he is subject to legal punishment. He is no longer fed and maintained merely according to his physical wants, without reference to the value of his services; but, on the other hand, he is delivered over to the unchecked operation of the principle of competition; and he must content himself with the scanty pittance which the rivalry of the labor market may assign him. He is no longer treated as a mere animal or implement of production, without feeling, mind, or moral character; he does not follow the religion of bis master, and he may voluntarily choose his own creed. But, in becoming a free moral agent, he accepts the responsibilities of that condition; his path is open to virtue, but he is answerable for his acts and their consequences if he deviates into other ways; he can, by foresight, determine his own lot, but he must, in compensation, suffer the penalties of his own improvidence.
When we contemplate the actual results of the change in question, and compare the state of the working classes in countries where they are free, with the state of a slave class, we find that the only benefits of freedom, which have been fully enjoyed by the laboring classes, are the negative ones, (such as exemption from bodily inflictions, and other ill treatment;) but that the positive benefits which they have hitherto derived from the social independence, have been less prominent. The positive benefits—which are economical and domestic-which consist iņ the acquisition, enjoyment and transmission of wealth,
and in the development of the family affections—ar more remote, and depend on numerous preliminary conditions which hitherto have rarely co-existed in any community. The entire harvest of the change will not be reaped until civilization has made further progress-until the providence, industry, intelligence, and peaceableness of the working man are such as to render him altogether fit for self-support, and to protect society against the shocks arising from his delusions and violence.
But, in proportion as the positive advantages are distant, the disadvantages of the change make themselves sensibly felt. As soon as slavery has ceased to exist, the freedom of action for the working classes is complete; they are masters of their own conduct, and their conduct determines the condition of the great mass of the community. If, then, their moral state is low, and they are exempt from all legal compulsion, they are likely to make a bad use of their liberty. Whenever the moral restraints are weak, and the rights of the freeman are exercised without limitation, and with an inward consciousness of power, political or social dangers cannot be far off. A slave-class, emancipated at once, affords the strongest example of the evils arising under this influ
Their moral condition is, at the best, like that of children; they have had no experience of self-management; and the rights of freedom are, from their novelty, prized most highly. Some countries, however, from which slavery has long been banished, exhibit a nearly similar state of things. Thus, in Ireland, the freedom of the working classes has produced the smallest amount of positive advantages, combined with the largest amount of