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of emancipation on the condition of the laboring class in England, it has been a cruel and monstrous failure, from first to last. They are almost as savage and ignorant as West India negroes, know nothing of the Bible, and live in a state of continued destitution, hunger, and excessive labor, from generation to generation—from infancy to old age.
West India emancipation was a blunder of swindling philanthropy. People were told that the negroes, after emancipation, would work harder, work for less, and be more of slaves than before, just as had happened with emancipated English. But philanthropy “hath bad luck.” It overlooked, or forgot, the few wants and indolent habits of the negro, the abundance of mountain lands, the fertile soil, the volunteer fruits and mild climate of Jamaica. The negro is really free, and luxuriates in sloth, ignorance and liberty, as none but a negro
The mistake and the failure consisted in setting him really free, instead of nominally so. Hinc illæ lachrymæ !
What vile hypocrisy to shed crocodile tears over the happy negro, and boast of British Liberty, which is daily and hourly consuming, by poverty, and cold, and foul air and water, and downright starvation, the lives of ten millions of your white brethren and neighbors !
But this system, which carried to untimely graves three hundred thousand Irishmen in a single sea
son, has not been condemned. No; it is profitable to the oppressors, and will not be condemned.
In all countries where a few own the property and the population is tolerably dense, laborers relieved from domestic slavery are remitted to the exploitation of skill and capital, which renders them less free and worse situated in all respects after emancipation than before. To prove this great truth, is the chief object of our present work. We know that the philosophy of the subject is intricate and complex, and that we have the prejudices, fanaticism and prepossessions of a world to oppose and conquer. We therefore indulge in frequent iteration, and adduce numerous proofs, examples and illustrations.
PROTECTION, AND CHARITY, TO THE WEAK.
A mere verbal formula often distinguishes a truism from a paradox. “It is the duty of society to protect the weak;” but protection cannot be efficient without the power of control; therefore, “It is the duty of society to enslave the weak.” And it is a duty which no organized and civilized society ever failed to perform. Parents, husbands, guardians, teachers, committees, &c., are but masters under another name, whose duty it is to protect the weak, and whose right it is to control them. The blacks in America are both positively and relatively weak. Positively so, because they are too improvident to lay up for the exigencies of sickness, of the seasons, or of old age. Relatively so, because they are wholly unequal to the whites among whom they live, in the war of the wits and free competition, which universal liberty begets, and political economy encourages.
In old countries the white laborers are relatively weak, because all property is closely appropriated, and the capitalist class possess the means of unlimited oppression. Everybody admits that in such countries the poor need protection. But there can
be no efficient protection without enslavement of some sort. In England, it has often been remarked, that all the legislation for the poor is borrowed from the system of domestic slavery.
Public and private charity is a fund created by the labor of the industrious poor, and too often bestowed on the idle or improvident. It is apt to aggravate the evils which it intends to cure.
Those who give should have the power to control, to some extent, the conduct and expenditure of the objects of their charity. Not till then can they be sure that their gifts will be promotive of good. But such power of control would be slavery.
Can abolitionists solve these social problems ?
Ambition has ever been considered the most noble of human failings. It is, however, no failing, or crime, at all. Ambition desires power, and without power there can be no safe, prudent and active benevolence. The selfish, the indolent, and the timid, are without ambition, and eschew power, because of the trouble, the expenses, and the responsibilities which it imposes. The actively good are always ambitious, and desire to possess power, in order that they may control, in some measure, the conduct of those whom they desire to benefit.
The best thing a philanthropist can do, is to buy slaves, because then his power of control is greatest—his ability to do practical good, most perfect.
We take this occasion to correct an error into
which we had fallen as to Northern character. Benevolence, affection, generosity, and philanthropy, are equally common North and South; and only differ in their modes of manifestation. We are one people.
The daily and hourly exercise of these qualities is elicited at the South, because it is safe, prudent and expedient so to exercise them. The reverse is true at the North: yet, “expel Nature and she will return again.” Man is social and philanthropic, and his affections, dammed out in one direction, find vent and gush out in another. The people of the North are far more generous and munificent in the endowment of public charities, and other public institutions, than we. This correction of our error does not affect our theories—if it be true, that you can only safely be charitable to dependents whom you can control. But if it did or does affect, neutralize and subvert them, it is due to truth,—and if we advance the cause of truth, we are ready for the sacrifice of all else.
“Our Trip to the North” excited doubts as to our estimate of Northern character; and subsequent observation, reading and reflection, have brought us to the conclusion, which we now with pleasure avow. We would rather be right than consistent.