« AnteriorContinuar »
working people, that they assume that though they may not escape from toil or gather property, their children will rise and bless the parents who labored to give them education, culture, and a start in the world. The gentleman does not know that many of you "poor" workingmen own your own homes. He does not know that you are the chief depositors of money in our savings banks. He does not know that your pride is that your boy wins his way over the rich man's son to the head of the class in school and often beats him in the race of life. No, sir, oir working people do not fear the almshouse, and do not feel that their condition would be improved if you could get a benevolent master to take a deed for them and their children and hold them as slaves are held in the South.
What is this system of slavery? I spoke last 'night of your right to defend your home, your wife, and your child. Now, were you a black man in the South—were you a mulatto in the South—were you a quadroon—were you an octoroon, with but one-eighth of African blood in your veins—nay, white as you are, were you a slave, and should a free white man assail your daughter or wife, and outrage her in your presence, you could not have even the poor privilege of swearing to the fact in a court; and were you to strike him, the law would punish you with death. Could you only get yourself well adopted into that system which Mr. Johnson and the Southern Confederacy support, and which my friend approves, then, not even in your own defence or in defence of the honor of wife or daughter, could you testify in a court. This is the slave's condition, and it is not altered by the fact that he has not a single drop of African blood in his veins. You may be the son of your owner, your mother may have been the daughter of his father, and your grandmother the daughter of his grandfather—a man may be thus thrice related to his owner, and have seven-eighths of white blood and only one-eighth of colored, yet he cannot testify in any Southern State, except against a slave.
I turn again to the book of Mr. Owen. The author says, on page 111:—
"One of the most universal objects of human desire and of human endeavor is the acquisition of property. But the laws of slave States forbid that the slave shall ever acquire any. The holiest of human relations is marriage. But a slave cannot legally contract it. The dearest of human ties are those of family. But a slave may see them broken forever, without redress, any hour of his life. Of all human privileges the highest is the right of culture, of moral and mental improvement, of education. But to the slave the school is forbidden ground, reading and writing are penal offences. The most prized of personal rights is the right of self-defence. But a slave has it not; he may not resist or resent a blow, even if it endanger limb or life.
"What remains to the enslaved race? Life to man? Honor to woman? Any security for either? Nominally, yes; actually, save in exceptional cases, no. In the statute laws against murder or rape, the word white is not to be found. Persons of either color appear to be equally protected. But among the same statutes, in every slave State of the Union, is incorporated a provision to the following or similar effect:—
"'A negro, mulatto, Indian, or person of mixed blood, descended from negro or Indian ancestors, to the third generation inclusive, though one ancestor of each generation may have been a white person, whether bond or free, is incapable of being a witness in any case, civil or criminal, except for or against each other.'' [Code of Tennessee, 1858, Section 3808, page 687.]
"So far as regards the two worst crimes against the person/the above provision is the exact equivalent of the following:—
"' Murder or rape by a white person, committed against a negro, mulatto, Indian, or person of mixed blood, descended from negro or Indian ancestors, to the third generation inclusive, though one ancestor of each generation may have been a white person, shall go unpunished, unless a white person shall have been present and shall testify to the commission of the crime.'
"The apology for a law according to which a woman cannot testify against the violator of her person,,or a son against the murderer of his father, is, that in a community where negro slavery prevails such a provision is necessary for the safety of the white races. The same apology is adduced to justify the taking from the slave the. right of property, of marriage, of family ties, of education, of self-defence."
Now, my fellow-citizens, let me ask you whether you think, and believe that your wives and daughters think, their condition would be improved were they put under a code of that kind. Yet, where slavery exists, such laws are inevitable. Under a monarchical government, the subject cannot testify against the king; it is treason to imagine the king's death. And slavery has been in all time and is everywhere equally intolerant of criticism. Therefore it is that you cannot maintain and enforce the Constitution, with slavery existing in our country. Slavery, in spite of the Constitution, will "abridge the freedom of speech."
The gentleman said that under Democratic rule, you would have free speech; and he complains that traitors, and spies, and scoundrels, who have cheated the Government in contracts, are picked up and sent to Fort Lafayette. He finds fault with everything that the government does. It has done no one act toward putting down this rebellion, that is not in his opinion unconstitutional, unwise, and tyrannical. But he tells you that you shall have freedom of speech under Democratic rule. I say to you that you never have had freedom of speech in this country. I say that if, years before this rebellion broke out, you had gone anywhere south of the Potomac or Ohio, and had said that slavery was wrong, you would have been mobbed, scourged, and put to death without trial by jury. For twenty-five years it has been the prevailing custom of the slave country to treat anti-slavery men thus; and we of the North have submitted to it; and American citizens who entertaind anti-slavery sentiments have been afraid to travel through portions of their own country. Even my friend will admit this.
I turn again to Mr. Owen's book to establish the truth of what I say, and to show you that, if you want freedom of speech in this or any other country, you must first extinguish slavery. On page 166, I find a quotation from a speech made by Senator Preston, of South Carolina, in the United States Senate in 1838. These are his words: "Let an Abolitionist come within the borders of South Carolina, if we can catch him, we will try him, and notwithstanding all the interference of all the governments on earth, including the Federal Government, we will hang him." In 1838, twenty-six years ago, that was proudly said in the Senate of the United States. Senator Hammond, of South Carolina, the same man who denounced us as "mudsills," especially those of us who labor or have labored, said in 1836: "If chance throw an Abolitionist in our way, he may expect a felon's death."
Mr. Owen says, on page 165 :—
"As in despotic monarchies it was found necessary to declare it to be treason, punishable as a capital offence, to question the divine right of kings, so in a slave empire they see it to be indispensable to forbid, on pain of death, all opinions touching the usefulness, or inconsistency with religion, of slavery. Twenty-five years ago they declared from their places in Congress, that, in spite of the Federal Government, every Abolitionist they caught should die a felon's death. It was no idle menace, as numerous murders, for opinion's sake, committed in the South, before the war, terribly attest.
"Let us not blame the men, except it be for seeking to uphold the monstrous system handed down to them by their forefathers. They must resist the Federal authority to maintain that system. They must violate the Constitutional provision which forbids to abridge 'the liberty of speech or of the press:' self-defence and its necessities compel them. They found this necessary before the war, in order to save slavery from destruction; the necessity will be increased beyond measure if slavery remain after its close. Now that the President's Proclamation of Emancipation has stirred up, in every Southern plantation, the latent longing for freedom, the dangers to their slave system from propagandism will be increased a hundred fold.
"It follows that in this Eepublic, if reconstructed half slave, half free, no man known to be opposed in principle to slavery will be able to cross Mason and Dixon's line Without imminent risk of life. South of that line the Constitutional provision touching the liberty of speech and of the press will remain inoperative. A felon's death will await every resident or traveller in the South who prints or who utters, in public or in private, any denial that slavery is just and moral, any assertion that religion does not sanction it. The Constitution guarantees the right thus to print, thus to speak. The Federal Government is bound to maintain that constitutional right. But it cannot maintain it in a Republic half slave, half free. What then? Slavery and the Constitution inviolate cannot coexist. We must give up the one or the other."
It has long been the policy of Southern men to confine free labor to the cold North. They saw that they must protect slavery against, among other things, the influence of trades unions. They feared the presence of many free workingmen lest they might come to say, "Your slaves shall not underwork us; we support white men at the North when they cannot get fair wages, and we won't let these slaves underwork us." It was to secure the exclusion of free labor, and to save slavery, that they undertook to destroy our Constitution and steal one half of our territory.
Now, men of the Fourth District, the question for you to settle at the coming election is whether you want a representative to go to Congress and defend slavery with all its horrors; to withhold the blessing of wages from more than one-half of your country; to deny to the laborers south of the Potomac and the Ohio the advantages of schools; or whether you want one who will maintain that every man, whether he be the legitimate or the illegitimate son of his master, or a stranger to his blood, is entitled to wages for his work; whether you want a man who would hand back into slavery the 200,000 stalwart negroes who are to-day in camp or bivouac, or fighting for your Constitution, your freedom, your system of civilization, or one who will say, "Brave boys, you have fought nobly; go forth free men; earn wages; rear your families, enjoy homes and be men."
"But," says the gentleman, "you want the darkey to come up here." He said to you last night—" So soon as you make the negroes free, they will come up here and take your wages from you." Now, I do not believe that the negro is a bit more ingenious or skilful than you; the truth is, I do not believe that he is so capable. You have learned your trades ; you have worked at them for years. When I finished my apprenticeship of six years and more, I was) a pretty good workman; but when, four years later, I quit the workshop, I was still more ex* pert and skilful. You have each improved by every year you have labored at your trade. And yet so inferior does my friend think you, that he believes and tells you that the " darkey," who all his life has done nothing but hoe corn and cotton—who " cannot tell B from a bull's foot"—who does not know one from a thousand—is so superior to you that if you make him free, he will come up here and take your bread out of your mouths by depriving you of w»ork, and will drive you to that Almshouse which he thinks is before you. There is his argument handed back to you legitimately. I say that the slave from a plantation in the South is not the equal of the Northern mechanic, and that the manufacturers who now employ you would as readily turn a mad bull into many of their departments as place them in charge of one of those " big-fisted" negroes from the cotton and sugar plantations of the South. Do not believe my friend in this—the negro is not better nor more skilful than you. Your skill and knowledge will protect you against his interference with you in your several branches. What do you think of the Democratic party when it defends itself by such insults to you, right to your face?
But there are other reasons why the negro will not come to the North. Why don't you raise oranges in your garden? Is there a soldier here who has served in the Army of the Gulf? Let him tell me whether, when the wintry winds are howling round us, and our rivers are ice-bound, the fields of Louisiana are not green, and the air fragrant with the odor of the orange-blossom, the magnolia, the rose, and other most highly colored and perfumed flowers? If there is such a soldier here, I ask him whether he wras not fascinated by the spring month of February in Louisiana, and he will tell me that he was. I ask him, then, why he does not plant around his Northern home the same delicious flowers, and have the orange bloom in February here? He answers, "It is against nature; nature has something to do with that." Pray, has nature nothing to do with the negro, or was he made by magic, to gratify the constitutional scruples of the Democratic party? I have an idea that nature has something to do with the negro, too. Like the orange and the other tropical plants, he comes from near the sun, and was made to live in warm climates. You punish the negro when you doom him to a climate in which there are long, cold winters. He thrives in the South. There, where we lose our teeth early—where we beeome yellow-skinned, bilious beings—want wigs at thirty, and totter to our graves, old men, at fifty—the negro lives to be eighty and a hundred, and carries a head white as the driven snow; but here, in the cold North, we live long and prosper, and have large families. Abolish slavery to-morrow, and the colored people would all tend southward at once. Nature invites them to'go there. There they would have companionship, because more than half the population of South Carolina, and nearly half that of other States, is composed of negroes. At the time of the breaking out of the war about 500,000 out of the 900,000 people of South Carolina were colored.
- "Why, then," you ask me, "have they come North?" They have come to escape the wrongs of slavery. They have run away, at the risk of limb or life, in order that they might own themselves and the wages they earn. They have run away that they should not live in violation of God's law, but that they might be married to wives, and be recognized as the fathers of their own children. They have run away from the taskmaster's lash, and from the law that would not allow them to testify against those who ravished their wives and daughters, or struck them down. They have come here to enjoy the common blessings of civilization. Make the South free, and there are not a thousand negroes in Pennsylvania who would not leave it. It is a Democratic humbug to say that you could coax a negro to live in cold New England, or upon the hillsides of Pennsylvania, during our winter, if he could go into the warm States with freedom and safety.
[Mr. Northrop follows in a speech of an hour and a half.]
Judge Kelley, in replying, said:—
My friend has given you a number of quotations from a book written in the interests of the Southern Confederacy, called "The Cotton Trade: its Bearing upon the Prosperity of Great Britain and the Commerce of the American Republic, considered in Connection with the System of Negro Slavery in the Confederate States. By George McHenry." *
Mr. Northrop—Of Philadelphia.
Judge Kelley—Yes, George McHenry, a native of Philadelphia, but at present one of the representatives of the Confederacy in England.
I could not understand how it was that my friend read the other night, at the Spring Garden Institute, a quotation from John Quincy Adams which made him vindicate the right of secession, while, when I came to examine the passage in the original, its purport was the very reverse, and was opposed to the right of secession. I now understand it. The author from whose work he had quoted the passage had garbled it, because he is in the pay of the Southern Confederacy as its foreign commercial representative. I brought here last night a volume af the Globe, containing the article, to show that the portion quoted was a part of a passage designed to support the very opposite doctrine to that which the gentleman cited it as advocating. In other words, the language of Mr, Adams had been subjected to the same process which was applied to the Bible when a man attempted to prove from it that "there is no God." There were those very words contained in a passage of Holy Writ; but immediately preceding them were the words, "The fool hath said in his heart."
I now understand how the gentleman was misled; and all the quotations which he has given from that red-covered book to which he has resorted almost every night, are quotations collected and manipulated, probably garbled and falsified, by George McHenry, the Liverpool agent of the Confederate States. I never learned the title of that book until to-night.
The gentleman says that New England prosecuted the slave-trade, and that through her entreaties it was continued till 1808. What says Alexander H. Stephens, the Vice-President of the Southern Confederacy? In the speech which I had just read, he says: "When we of the South wished to continue the slave-trade, or the importation of Africans for the cultivation of our land, did they not yield the right for twenty years?" Yet the gentleman brings you a book prepared and published in England for the purpose of making sentiment against our country in foreign lands, a book in which the statements are maliciously and infamously garbled to make foreign nations believe that New England, and not the South, began the war.
He tells you that he is "the white man's friend." Then why, in God's name, has he steadily resisted the use of the black man as sailor and soldier? '• The white man's friend!" Then why not let the black man fight ?" The Northern white man's friend!" Then why not let the Southern States send their quota into our army? Why force Pennsylvania and her Northern sisters to furnish all the men for our armies? I claim to be the friend of Man, to stand by the Constitution of my country, and I believe that this war is to maintain for you and your posterity the whole of your country; and I also believe that, by fighting it out to a just settlement, we shall preclude the possibility of war again in your time, or till the latest generation of your posterity. The gentleman wants peace and proposes to secure it by establishing along our whole border on the line of the Potomac and the Ohio an armed Confederacy, a formidable military power, so that we shall have to keep along the whole line an army to meet the force they may at any time send over to burn our cities and villages, as they burned Chambersburg, and as they threatened to burn Philadelphia, if they had not been stopped at Gettysburg by Meade and our great army. Did they not avow their purpose to burn Philadelphia and New York! and would they not have done it, I again ask, had not Meade and his noble army checked their progress? Yet the gentleman, being "the white man's friend," would not let the negro take a musket to resist their approach or aggressions! He is so much "the white man's friend" that he would take from you and your posterity the public land lying in all the Southern States, and give it to the slave-drivers! Where is the evidence of friendship for the white man in facts like these?
Are you, my fellow citizens, willing to acknowledge the independence of the Southern Confederacy? If you are not, you will say that we must carry on the war. And if we carry on the war, must it not be carried on by men? And if it must be carried on by men, is it not better for the white men of the North that the negroes should carry it on than that you should do it? The gentleman must mean one of two things: He means, either that you must fight to save the negro and your country both, or that your country must be divided, and the graves of your brothers and sons who have fallen in the service lie under a foreign flag and in a foreign land. One of these two things he must mean, and I ask you who have heard him to say which.
He has spoken for an hour and a half—spoken, J grant, with eloquence, with learning, with dignity, with wit, with humor; but has he told you how he is going to save the country? He says he is for peace; and he wants to "save the white man." Is it saving-you to rob you of your patrimony? Is it saving you to dishonor the memory of your Eevolutionary forefathers? Is it saving you to give away your country? Is it saving you to establish along a thousand or fifteen hundred miles of frontier, a foreign nation, against which we shall always have to be armed and prepared? How does he propose to save you? He has attempted to play upon your prejudices against the negro and the abolitionist; he has been humorous at my expense; but he has been as careful to avoid all legitimate argument, all statement of the manner in which he proposes either to accomplish peace or save the Union, as a burnt child is to avoid the fire. He has never come to the question or near it.
He has dwelt upon "the coming man," and insisted that I think the negro greater and better than any one else. Any child in your public schools who can read the speech of mine which he quoted would understand from it that I meant that if we could overcome the Democratic prejudice and take the negro as a soldier, he would fill our armies and enable us to drive the rebels from the field. His manhood had been denied, and I saw that it was about to be admitted, and spoke of him as the "coming man." But my distinguished friend and the other Democratic leaders were then, as now, engaged in firing your prejudice against the negro, and urging you not to consent to his enlistment. In the passage he cited I lauded Grant, Meade, Banks; and every General of whom I spoke, even Butler, whom the gentleman denounces as a " beast."
Mr. Northrop—Did I apply that term to General Butler?
Judge Kelley—I do not know whether the gentleman used that precise term; but at the Spring Garden Institute he spoke of the odiousness of Gen. Butler and strove to overwhelm his name with terms of ignominy, though he may not have applied to him the epithet "beast."
In the speech referred to I lauded all the Generals who had then distinguished themselves in commanding onr armies; but I said there was work which they could not do, because they are not ubiquitous, and went on to tell how negroes could be obtained in Mississippi and the other Southern States, and how by making those States furnish their quota, we should get the men we required, and should thus be enabled to put down the rebellion. I asserted the manhood of the negro, and his fitness to be a soldier, and I asked that he might thenceforth be recognized as a man. That, I repeat, is what I meant by the phrase, "the coming man." * And yet the gentleman played on that phrase for ten or fifteen minutes, to make you believe that I love the negro better than the white man. I leave the matter to your judgment.
He tells you that Mr. Pettigrew, of South Carolina, stood up for the Union until Mr. Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation crushed out all his hope. I do not know how often-the gentleman corresponds with Mr. Pettigrew or other distinguished gentlemen of South Carolina. I never had any acquaintance with old Mr. Pettigrew; I do not know whether he is dead or alive; but I do know that the public papers, quoting from the journals of South Carolina, told us of his death and burial before Abraham Lincoln issued that Proclamation.
Has not Jeff. Davis said over and over again that the only basis of peace to which the South will consent is the recognition of Southern independence? Every one who speaks authoritatively and officially for the Confederacy declares that terms of peace, to be considered by them, must acknowledge Southern independence. And they claim that their Confederacy embraces Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, and Yirginia. Let me ask you whether you are in favor of putting Maryland out of the Union, of putting Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri out of the Union by transferring them to a foreign Confederacy, to bring its line closer to„your doors, and to strengthen its martial power? No; the gentleman is wrong—it is not President Lincoln's Proclamation, but Calhoun's dogma of State rights adopted into the creed of the Democratic party; it is the devotion of the Southern people to slavery, and the contempt of Northern Democratic leaders for the laboring masses, to which we are to ascribe our difficulties. At the coming November election let it be seen that every State in the North goes solidly for Abraham Lincoln and the prosecution of the war, and " that old coon," the Southern Confederacy, will say, as its prototype did to Captain Scott: "There is no use firing your gun; I will come down. I thought that McClellan would be the man." The Chicago platform promises them independence; the Chicago platform condemns the war as a failure; the Chicago platform promises an armistice—the resort to the speediest means for the suspension of the war. That which nerves the armies of the Southern rebels more powerfully than musket or sword, cannon or ammunition, is their knowledge that there are able men, like my competitor, going all over the North pleading their cause, and their hope; is that the North will yield to them on election day, and that they will thus secure by the ballots of the Democratic party what they have not been able to win by the bullets of their soldiers—the independence of their Confederacy.
The gentleman says that Mr. Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation destroyed the last vestige of Union sentiment in the South by "inviting the negroes to rise in armed insurrection and cut their master's throats." I know the gentleman did not make that statement deliberately. You can all read that Proclamation, and I ask any and all of you to call at the building of the Union League, in Chestnut street, Philadelphia, and obtain a copy of it. In that document the President, after proclaiming freedom to the slaves and promising them the protection of our flag, expressly enjoins them against any acts of unnecessary violence. If we had continued to refuse all sympathy for the slave, and if the war had gone on until the fighting power of the whites of the South'had been exhausted, there was danger of armed insurrection among the slaves and free blacks; and in order to avoid that, the President in that Proclamation did what Alexander H. Stephens warned the people of the South it would be the President's duty to do—invited the people of the South, white and black, to come to the flag of the country; he offered them all arms, and he expressly warned the slaves, whom by that instrument he freed, that they should not unnecessarily commit any act of violence.
Now, what is the use of misrepresenting a great State paper to intelligent people like you? Most of you have read it, and all of you can get it. I promise to send to the postmaster of this town a hundred copies, that any of you who wish a copy may get it.
The gentleman tells you that 17,000 Northern men have been arrested. I deny it; but if such were the fact, and if they were all as guilty as the scoundrel towards whom his sympathy flowed out so freely when he told you how the detective officer had tracked him, they all deserved to be arrested. The incident to which the gentleman referred occurred, if I remember rightly, in one branch of the Gilchrist case, in which certain men were detected in sending great quantities of percussion-caps to the rebels from New York and Philadelphia.
Mr. Northrop—That was not the case I referred to.
Judge Kelley—That is the only case of the kind I have ever heard of. The rebels were short-of percussion-caps, and there was organized here in the North a conspiracy by which they were to get them. A detective officer went to one of the men concerned in this conspiracy, and, by a little lying, wormed the secret out of him. Thus we got an immense quantity of percussion-caps, to be used by our army in shooting rebels, instead of their being used by rebels to shoot our soldiers. I think that the result quite justified the artifice.