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TRUE POLICY OF THE ABOLITIONISTS.
HITHERTO our duty has been a painful one—to speak plainly where plain speaking, however unpalatable, is the only true kindness or means of showing any useful sympathy with the appeal from the other side of the Atlantic on behalf of the slave. Therefore, we now gladly turn from condemning much for which we could find no true defence, to look in the only direction from whence a single ray of hope illumines the future, pointing to the only means whereby the highest and best aspirations of the friends of freedom in the New World can be fulfilled. For this fulfilment our motherland fervently offers her earnest wishes and prayers, to be promptly seconded by action if any opening presents itself of intervention in any way for good.
Just as these lines are written, the arrival of the “ George Griswold "* at Liverpool is announced. This munificent gift to our distressed manufacturing operatives, from the great heart of American charity, recals many other instances in which the generous benevolence of the United States has large claims upon our gratitude, and deepens our interest in this crisis of their destiny. Even whilst their own fate trembles in the balance, our kinsmen
* Laden with provisions for the poor in the manufacturing districts.
across the Atlantic show themselves tenderly mindful of us, with hands full of succour for the sufferers in the old country. Let them be well assured that neither this nor any other single kind act, word, or thought of theirs will be unthanked or forgotten. As they are “constant in our grief,” so will we be in theirs until brighter days dawn for them, and we can, with full hearts, be 6 joyous in their joy."
We have been neutral in their great struggle because we saw no other means of rendering them any help or service. We have waited in mournful anxiety for the time when a word of kind counsel or friendly offer had the slightest chance of being well received or listened to. But in the mad agony of bloody conflict such intervention is worse than useless. The best hope for it is to be hastily thrown aside with neglect and forgotten; for, coming from a friend, it is almost certain to be resented as an insult. Perhaps the moment has hardly even yet arrived when such voices can plead with success for any hearing ; but we are unwilling to allow the opening for them given by Mrs. Stowe's appeal to pass without an attempt to profit by it.
America is now writing rapidly with the sword such large tragic chapters of the world's history ; and events in her destiny crowd upon one another so hurriedly, that nothing that is not true in principle, and to some degree of sagacious insight into the future in writing of her affairs, can long remain unrefuted by the occurrences from day to day. The few weeks that have passed since Mrs. Beecher Stowe's appeal reached us prove how far she has been from truly interpreting the “handwriting on the wall ;” and much that she has written would be far different were the pen now in her hand. By this severe test must the value of our pages be tried; and we shall rejoice if the timely wisdom of those guiding the destinies of the Federal States causes our forecast of the future to prove too gloomy a foreboding. But to secure this result, the Northern States must treat for peace in time, whilst there is yet something left to treat for, and some common ground remains to treat on; and not allow the conflict to smoulder out from sheer exhaustion on both sides without any attempt at fair accommodation. The first essential is to give up the futile attempt to coerce the South, and abandon the chimera of restoring a Union to embrace all the elements of division and dissolution.
Let the Abolitionists of America be wiser than were their Puritan ancestors in England; who, by allowing zeal to degenerate into tyranny, lost all that the fervour of that zeal had won with the sacrifice of many valuable lives, and caused a reaction that lasted long years, until the nation was worse enslaved than ever before leaving the work of freedom to be done again by calmer and wiser men. By allowing the South to leave them the Federal States lose nothing—on the contrary, they make a great gain both for themselves and the cause of freedom. They close and strengthen their ranks, and win the power of proceeding safely and surely to abolish slavery; with none inside their camp to impede or hinder their progress. | The policy of narrowing the area of slavery and gradually winning State after State over to freedom
was perhaps the only available means of furthering emancipation whilst the Union lasted. But it was binding the living soul to the dead body; and again and again forced the Free States to consent to compromises, and become unwilling parties to legislation forced upon them by the Central Government, sometimes almost making them partners in the worst crimes of slavery. And, as we have shown, the strife of parties for the mastery was carried on by gradually increasing corruption, which threatened to destroy every vestige of national honour and public virtue. Every successive election of a president forced sincerely honest and high-minded citizens, either to fight degraded venal opponents with their own weapons, or endanger more than the loss of all the ground they had hardly won, from the reaction that would certainly follow if those opponents came into power. It was truly fortunate for the reputation and chances of ultimate success of the Abolitionists that the Slave States refused these constitutional struggles and seceded from the Union. It would have been more fortunate for the best interests of the United States if they had done this long ago, and no attempt had been made to detain them.
Let not the Federal States fear any loss of real 1 strength, greatness, or national progress from letting the South go free and leave them. Let them learn to be wise by remembering the past errors and misfortunes of Great Britain, and not carry too far the almost fatal error we made in vainly striving to force the United States to remain our colony. We strove convulsively against all
hope, as long as strife was possible, to retain them, in the unwavering belief that their freedom would fatally dismember our empire. Yet from that dismemberment dates our rapid growth in real strength and greatness. There is a point in the increase of nations when parts of the system too often become gangrened and moribund and must be severed to preserve or renew life. By striving to retain discordant elements, thus weakening the real strength of the country in efforts to embrace too wide a territory, a government covering an entire continent may become very far from being a first-rate power. The United States have reached this point; and the Federal States would bound forth as “ with a second birth” on their career of national greatness, were they freed from their fatal incubus of the South.
Nor would the best interests of freedom suffer. The dream that four millions of slaves can be emancipated and regenerated by mere proclamations, and by laying waste the South, is a mischievous hallucination. These Southern States must themselves support the slaves, and gradually prepare them for emancipation. None else, as President Lincoln has seen with sagacious prescience, can or will undertake this gigantic task. We believe that the Abolitionists are right in maintaining that Free and Slave States cannot, for any long time, exist together as near neighbours side by side. The Slave States would sooner or later be forced to become free, or sink into poverty and insignificance. But this process will the most rapidly attain its end by the Free States being severed from all contaminating connection with