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TO THE HONORABLE HENRY A. WISE.
I dedicate this work to you, because I am acquainted with no one who has so zealously, laboriously and successfully endeavored to Virginianise Virginia, by encouraging, through State legislation, her intellectual and physical growth and development; no one who has seen so clearly the evils of centralization from without, and worked so earnestly to cure or avert those evils, by building up centralization within.
Virginia should have her centres of Thought at her Colleges and her University, centres of Trade and Manufactures at her Seaboard and Western towns, and centres of Fashion at her Mineral Springs.
I agree with you, too, that State strength and State independence are the best guarantees of State rights ; and that policy the wisest which most promotes the growth of State strength and independence.
Weakness invites aggression; strength commands respect; hence, the Union is safest when its separate members are best able to repel injury, or to live independently.
Your attachment to Virginia has not lessened your love for the Union. In urging forward to completion such works as the Covington and Ohio Road, you are trying to add to the wealth, the glory and the strength of our own State, whilst you would add equally to the wealth, the strength and perpetuity of the Union.
I cannot commit you to all the doctrines of my book, for you will not see it until it is published.
I have endeavored, in this work, to treat the subjects of Liberty and Slavery in a more rigidly analytical manner than in “Sociology for the South ;” and, at the same time, to furnish the reader with abundance of facts, authorities and admissions, whereby to test the truth of
views. My chief aim has been to shew, that Labor makes values, and Wit exploitates and accumulates them; and hence to deduce the conclusion that the unrestricted exploitation of so-called free society, is more oppressive to the laborer than domestic slavery.
In making a distinct onslaught on the popular doctrines of Modern Ethics, I must share the credit or censure with my corresponding acquaintance and friend, Professor H. of Virginia.
Our acquaintance commenced by his congratulating me, by letter, on the announcement that I was occupied
with a treatise vindicating the institution of Slavery in the abstract, and by his suggestion, that he foresaw, from what he had read of my communications to the papers, that I should be compelled to make a general assault on the prevalent political and moral philosophy. This letter, and others subsequent to it, together with the reception of my Book by the Southern Public, have induced me in the present work to avow the full breadth and scope of my purpose. I am sure it will be easier to convince the world that the customary theories of our Modern Ethical Philosophy, whether utilitarian or sentimental, are so fallacious or so false in their premises and their deductions as to deserve rejection, than to persuade it that the social forms under which it lives, and attempts to justify and approve, are equally erroneous, and should be re-placed by others founded on a broader philosophical system and more Christian principles.
Yet, I believe that, under the banners of Socialism and more dangerous, because more delusive, Semi-Socialism, society is insensibly, and often unconsciously, marching to the utter abandonment of the most essential institutions—religion, family ties, property, and the restraints of justice. The present profession is, indeed, to stop at the half-way house of No-Government and Free Love; but we are sure that it cannot halt and encamp in such quarters. Society will work out erroneous doctrines to their logical consequences, and detect error only by the experience of mischief. The world will only fall back on domestic slavery when all other social forms have failed and been exhausted. That hour may not be far off.
Mr. H. will not see this work before its publication, and would dissent from many of its details, from the unrestricted latitude of its positions, and from its want of precise definition. The time has not yet arrived, in my opinion, for such precision, nor will it arrive until the present philosophy is seen to be untenable, and we begin to look about us for a loftier and more enlightened substitute.