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We welcome them. Their principles were wrong when they adopted them, but (barring their consolidation doctrines) will answer pretty well now. It was ever the misfortune of the old Federal party and the lately deceased Whig party, to be right at the wrong time. They were, as the doctors say, nosological and not pathological in practice. The Whig party of England, like the Democratic party of America, is eminently pathological, active, observant and impressible.
Virginia, Nov. 18, 1856.
WM. LLOYD GARRISON, Esq.:
DEAR SIR-I have observed so much fairness in the manner in which slavery and other sociological questions are treated in The Liberator, that it has occurred to me you would not consider suggestions from an ultra pro-slavery man obtrusive, and might deem them worth a place in your columns. I shall not promise that the example of your liberality will be followed at the South. It is a theory of mine, that "recurrence to fundamental principles" is only treason clothed in periphrastic phrase; and that the right of private judgment, liberty of the press, freedom of speech, and freedom of religion, are subordinate to these "principles," and must not be allowed to assail them,-else there can be no stability in government, or security of private rights. The South thinks me heretical, but feels that I am right, and takes care to trammel these sacred rights quite as efficiently by an austere public opinion, as Louis Napoleon does by law or by mere volition.
I entirely concur in a theory I heard Mr. Wendell
Phillips propound in a lecture at New Haven. I shall not attempt to give his eloquent words, for I am incapable of doing justice to his language; but the amount of his theory was, that governments are not formed by man, but are the gradual accretions of time, circumstance, and human exigencies; that they grow up like trees, and that man may cultivate, train and aid their growth and development, but cannot make them out and out. Now, I accept the theory, and propose, in the first place, to deter men from applying the axe to the root of our Southern institutions, (that is, discussing or recurring to "fundamental principles,") by moral suasion or monition; next, by tar and feathers, and, that failing, by the halter. The worst institutions that ever grew up country are better than the best that philosophers or philanthropists ever devised. As for ours, we deem them, since the days of Rome, Athens and Judea, the crack institutions of the world.
With these preliminary remarks, I will make the following suggestions or interrogations :—
Is not slavery to capital less tolerable than slavery to human masters?
Where a few, as in England, Ireland and Scotland, own all the lands, are not the mass, the common laborers,
* Mr. Phillips is, in private life, aside from his abolition and sectional prejudices, a worthy, accomplished gentleman. He is the most eloquent and graceful speaker to whom we ever listened. He seems to distill manna and ambrosia from his lips, but is all the while firing whole broadsides of hot shot. "He is his own antithesis"-an infernal machine set to music.
who own no capital, and possess neither mechanical nor professional skill, of necessity, the slaves to capital?
Was it not this slavery to capital that occasioned the great Irish famine, and is it not this same slavery that keeps the large majority of the laboring class in Western Europe in a state of hereditary starvation?
In old societies, where the laborers are domestic slaves, and exceed in number the demand for labor, would not emancipating them subject them at once to a mastery, or exacting despotism of capital, far more oppressive than domestic slavery?
Did not the emancipation of European serfs, or villiens, in all instances, injure their condition as a class?
In the event of the occurrence of such excess of domestic slaves, would it not be more merciful to follow the Spartan plan, and kill the surplus, than the abolition plan, which sets them all free, to live on half allowance, and to "make free labor cheaper than slave labor," by this fierce competition and underbidding to get employment?
Are there not fewer checks to superior wit, skill and capital, and less of protection afforded to the weak, ignorant and landless mass in Northern society, than in any other ever devised by the wit of man?
Is not "laissez-faire," in English, "Every man for himself, and devil take the hindmost," your whole theory and practice of government?
When your society grows older, your population more dense, and property, by your trading, speculating and commercial habits, gets into a few hands, will not the
slavery to capital be more complete and unmitigated than in any part of Europe, where a throne, a nobility and established church, stand between the bosses, bankers and landlords, and the oppressed masses?
Do not almost all well-informed men of a philosophical turn of mind in Western Europe and our North, concur in opinion that the whole framework of society, religious, ethical, economic, legal and political, requires radical change?
Is not the absence of such opinion at the South, and its prevalence in free society, conclusive proof of the naturalness and necessity of domestic slavery?
Would not the North be willing to leave the settlement of the slavery question in Kansas to the public opinion of Christendom, (for it will be settled by all Christendom, of whom not one in a hundred will be slaveholders,) if it were not sensible that public opinion was about to decide in favor of negro slavery, and, therefore, that it must be forstalled by Federal legislation ?
Since our work was in the press, the above has appeared in the Liberator. We embrace the occasion to thank Mr. Garrison for his courtesy, and to make a few remarks that we hope will not be deemed ill-timed or impertinent.
A comparison of opinions and of institutions between North and South will lead to kinder and more pacific relations. Hitherto, such comparisons