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AMERICAN MELODRAMATIC SCENES.
TO THE EDITORS OF THE LIVERPOOL MERCURY.
GENTLEMEN,—It is quite amusing to read the statements of poets, senators, orators, and divines in America, and the pro-Federals in this country, who claim for America the highest place amongst nations.
In a grandiloquent speech made by Secretary Seward in the senate chamber of the United States in the autumn of 1860, we find the following startling announcement, that the "worst slave state is in advance of England ;” and in a lecture recently delivered by the celebrated novelist Thomas Hughes in the Collegiate Institute, the following paragraph was jotted down by the reporters, and published in the newspapers of this town—"He declared, from all his reading and his conversation with Americans and with Englishmen who had travelled in that country (America), that there was no country in the world where men are so free, so well educated, so noble in all respects-in all essential respects in which freemen ought to be noble-as the citizens of the States of the North, especially the New England States.. (Cheers.) No nation had done so much to enlighten and elevate its people ; and its people were worthy of the sympathy of those who had done well in the great ends for which nations were established.”
If, therefore, we are to give credence to the utterances of the persons referred to, your illustrious characters, such as Brougham, Gladstone, Livingstone, Spurgeon, Florence Nightingale, and Queen Victoria, must vanish behind the scenes, whilst the aristocracy of slaveholders or menstealers in the Southern States make their appearance in the persons of Jeff. Davis, Howell Cobb, Mason, Slidell, Floyd, Wise, Pryor, Barkdale, accompanied by a large retinue of lady major domos, surrounded by bright and beautiful landscapes, where the skies cleave asunder to pour down righteousness in the way of retributive justice; where the incense laden gales of miasma from the dismal swamps of slavery fill every breeze ; where the soft sweet lullaby dies away, and then swells into a grand hallelujah chorus amid the din and clatter of bludgeons, thumbscrews, pincers, cowhides, cat-o'-nine-tails, bowie knives, revolvers, and bloodhounds, as these aristocrats trip it with fantastic toe, making heaven to weep and hell to rejoice, while the lash plays and the blood flows; while women are whipped and children are sold; while the paternal tie is rudely torn, and the marriage annulled; while honest gains are filched and robbed, the souls of men are shut down in all the darkness of ignorance, and God himself is defied in the pretension that man can hold property in his fellow-man; while all around the great big serpent slavery draws its long slow length along, over every sunny bank, under every shady tree, by the side of every meandering stream, coiling its snaky
folds or darting its sting and breathing its hiss under the shadow of their "patriarchal domes," filling the land with its unclean presence and spirit, impregnating the atmosphere with its stench, and turning the blooming paradise of the South into an Aceldama. And yet, forsooth, with this monster that binds so many hands, cords so many feet, blinds so many eyes, blasts so many intellects, crushes so many hearts, and opens so wide the jaws of destruction, and makes such a smooth path to it-yes, with this monster, slavery, we are to be fascinated; with its patriarchal scenes, so called in the “sunny South,” we are to be entranced; and with such sounds we are to be filled with joys divine and rhapsodies celestial, if we are to bow to the dogma of the Hon. Wm. H. Seward. · And if we are to receive the teachings of Thomas Hughes, your distinguished celebrities must still hide their diminished heads whilst the genii, so called in the North, whom Beecher designates the “picklock of society and the pickpocket of the world,” and whose daughters, especially in the New England States, according to the testimony of the same divine, are to regenerate the South without the aid of the first syllable-oh yes, your illustrious personages must still go down into the shade whilst the above wonderful genii crowd upon the stage.
And here the scene opens with the crowding of the shores of the New World with emigrants, whom Dr. Guthrie calls the “scum of Europe ;” and as they enter upon the business activities of life, down goes the value of slave labour, and up goes the feverislı anxiety of their Northern fleshmongering owners to realise their full market value. Hence, when they could find no market around them, they sent them into the Southern market, that they might exemplify their “thrift to fawning.” It must be some consolation therefore, to those who have constituted the so-called “scum of Europe,” to be of some service to the commonwealths of America in the North. The next scene brings before us a large procession of distinguished citizens, with clergymen robed in their canonicals leading the way to church, where they offer their devout gratitude to Almighty God for the passing of the fugitive slave law, and condole each other and the people that the Union was saved, the storms which threatened the Republic were turned into a calm, and that they would have peace in their time. Again the curtain rises, and we hear the bells tolling, as they announce the "glory departed” of Northern free cities in the rendition of fugitive slaves amidst the military tramp of armed men who are conveying them to the ship or railway station to be consigned to the hell of the Carolinas.
The next scene brings before us the fitting up of the slave ships and their departure from New York, Boston, and New Bedford, for Africa, to empty that country in order to humanise, civilise, and christianise them through the benign influences of the patriarchal institution of slavery.
Another scene opens to our view, and we see a parson salesman in a Baptist Convention in Philadelphia,
surrounded by great official dignitaries, such as Drs. Wayland, Cone, and others, and hear his voice as he proceeds, amidst the profound silence of the assembly, and without rebuke, to offer for sale his pious slave, whom he had brought with him from the South. We hear his voice exclaiming, “ See, here is my christian slave, who has a desire to go to preach the gospel in Africa. I will take 200 dollars for him. Oh, what a chance for you who are anxious for the slave, to try your liberality.” Then comes the Baptist missionary, Bushyhead, the agent of the Triennial Convention, which had its head-quarters in Boston. Bushyhead is surrounded with a beautiful plantation, well stocked with slaves, and is deeply solicitous about the Indians, and very assiduous in inducting them into the mysteries and blessings of the patriarchal institution, slavery, where this mystery of iniquity is now at work, showing its baleful influences among the red men of the forest.
Then comes before us the examination of the slavebreeding pens of Virginia and the border States by the representatives of the Bible, Tract, and Missionary Societies, appointed by committees in New York to see which slaves are ready for the market, and whether they can bespeak any of the proceeds of their sale for the printing of the Holy Bible, and to send missionaries to Turkey and India by getting their owners to become life members, or directors in the payment of the usual fee.
In the next scene the Rev. Henry Ward Beecher