Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

INTRODUCTION.

In our little work, “Sociology for the South,” we said, “We may again appear in the character of writer before the public; but we shall not intrude, and would prefer that others should finish the work which we have begun.” That little work has met, every where, we believe, at the South, with a favorable reception. No one has denied its theory of Free Society, nor disputed the facts on which that theory rests. Very many able co-laborers have arisen, and many books and essays are daily appearing, taking higher ground in defence of Slavery; justifying it as a normal and natural institution, instead of excusing or apologizing for it, as an exceptional one. It is now treated as a positive good, not a necessary evil. The success, not the ability of our essay, may have had some influence in eliciting this new mode of defence. We have, for many years, been gradually and cautiously testing public opinion at the South, and have ascertained that it is ready to approve, and much prefers, the highest ground of defence, We have no peculiar fitness for the work we are engaged in, except the confidence that we address a public predisposed to approve our doctrines, however bold or novel. Heretofore the great difficulty in defending Slavery has “arisen from the fear that the public would take offence at assaults on its long-cherished political axioms; which, nevertheless, stood in the way of that defence. It is now evident that those axioms have outlived their day~ for no one, either North or South, has complained of our rather ferocious assault on them-much less attempted to reply to or refute our arguments and objections. All men begin very clearly to perceive, that the state of revolution is politically and sociaily abnormal and exceptional, and that the principles that would justify it are true in the particular, false in the general. "A recurrence to fundamental principles,” by an oppressed people, is treason if it fails; the noblest of heroism if it eventuates in successful revolution. But a "frequent recurrence to fundamental principles” is at war with the continued existence of all government, and is a doctrine fit to be sported only by the Isms of the North and the Red Republicans of Europe. With them no principles are considered established and sacred, nor will ever be. When, in time of revolution, society is partially disbanded, disintegrated and dissolved, the doctrine of Human Equality may have a hearing, and may be useful in stimulating rebellion; but it is practically impossible, and directly conflicts with all government, all separate property, and all social existence. We cite these two examples, as instances, to show how the wisest and best of men are sure to deduce, as general principles, what is only true as to themselves and their peculiar circumstances. Never were people blessed with such wise and noble Institutions as we; for they combine most that was good in those of Rome and Greece, of Judea, and of Mediæval England. But the mischievous absurdity of our political axioms and principles quite equals the wisdom and conservatism of our political practices. The ready appreciation by the public of such doctrines as these, encourages us to persevere in writing. The silence of the North is far more encouraging, however, than the approbation of the South. Piqued and taunted for two years, by many Southern Presses of high standing, to deny the proposition that Free Society in Western Europe is a failure, and that it betrays premonitory symptoms of failure, even in America, the North is silent, and thus tacitly admits the charge. Challenged to compare and weigh the advantages and disadvantages of our domestic slavery with their slavery of the masses to capital and skill, it is mute, and neither accepts nor declines our challenge. The comparative evils of Slave Society and of Free Society, of slavery to human Masters and of slavery to Capital, are the issues which the South now presents, and which the North avoids. And she avoids them, because the Abolitionists, the only assailants of Southern Slavery, have, we believe, to a man, asserted the entire failure of their own social system, proposed its subversion, and suggested an approximating millenium, or some system of Free Love, Communism, or Socialism, as a substitute.

The alarming extent of this state of public opinion, or, to speak more accurately, the absence of any public opinion, or common faith and conviction about anything, is not dreamed of at the South, nor fully and properly realized, even at the North. We cannot believe what is so entirely different from all our experience and observation, and they have become familiarized and inattentive to the infected social atmosphere they continually inhale. Besides, living in the midst of the isms, their situation is not favorable for comprehensive observation or calm generalization. More than a year since, we made a short trip to the North, and whilst there only associated with distinguished Abolitionists. We have corresponded much with them, before and since, and read many of their books, lectures, essays and speeches. We have neither seen nor heard any denial by them of the failure of their own social system; but, on the contrary, found that they

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »