The Project Gutenberg eBook of American Dangers and Duties

This ebook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and most other parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this ebook or online at If you are not located in the United States, you will have to check the laws of the country where you are located before using this eBook.

Title: American Dangers and Duties

Author: A. D. Mayo

Release date: May 26, 2021 [eBook #65452]

Language: English

Credits: Donald Cummings, hekula03 and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images generously made available by the Library of Congress)


Vol. 2.    Whole No. 24.

No. 12.



Rev. A. D. MAYO

Periodical: Postage, 3 cents a Year.

Published by the Ladies’ Religious Publication Society.



The experiment of publishing a series of tracts upon Liberal Christianity entered upon in the month of October, 1858, has been eminently successful, with only a moderate outlay of effort and expense. The publications of our Society, under the following titles, are before the public:

Volume One.

I. Liberal Christianity, by Rev. A. D. Mayo.
II. The Gospel of the Day, by Rev. O. B. Frothingham.
III. Liberal Christianity a Practical Religion, by Rev. A. D. Mayo.
IV. The Father the only and the sufficient God, by Rev. S. Longfellow.
V. The Natural History of the Devil, by Rev. M. D. Conway.
VI. What is Infidelity, by Rev. A. D. Mayo.
VII. Thy Holy Child Jesus, by Rev. Wm. H. Furness, D. D.
VIII. The Relation of this Life to the Next, by Rev. T. Starr King.
IX. A Church and its Methods, by Rev. James Freeman Clarke.
X. The Bottomless Pit, by Rev. Samuel Osgood, D. D.
XI. The Reformation of the Nineteenth Century, by Rev. A. D. Mayo.
XII. A Case of Evangelical Church Discipline, by Emerson W. Keyes.

Volume Two.

I. Cornering Religion, by Rev. C. A. Bartol.
II. On the Alleged Decay of Faith, by Rev. Orville Dewey, D. D.
III. A Religious Experience, by Rev. A. D. Mayo.
IV. What do Unitarians Believe? by Rev. Samuel J. May.
V. Believing Much and Believing Little, by Rev. O. B. Frothingham.
VI. The Simplicity of Liberal Christianity, by Rev. John Pierpont.
VII. Theodore Parker, by Rev. A. D. Mayo.
VIII. Why not Acknowledge the Faith which you Believe, by Rev. E. Buckingham.
IX. Relation of the Unitarian Faith to the Current Creeds of Christendom, by Rev. H. W. Bellows, D. D.
X. The Use and Abuse of Religious Creeds, by Rev. A. D. Mayo.
XI. Some Essentials of a True Church, by Rev. Robert Collyer.
XII. American Dangers and Duties, by Rev. A. D. Mayo.

We believe there is no way in which our cause can be so surely and steadily advanced as by the thorough dissemination of tracts, calculated to awaken interest in the great religious questions of the age. And we confidently appeal to our friends for aid and co-operation in this work. The publications of the coming year we intend shall equal in interest and ability those of the past, and at a very small cost any person will be able to enjoy the best thoughts of the ablest writers upon Liberal Christianity. Subscribers of one dollar a year will be furnished with the whole series for 1860 (twelve in number), at the rate of two copies a month sent by mail, at periodical rates of postage; and to purchasers who desire tracts for more extended circulation, they will be supplied at the rate of $2.00 a hundred. The objects of the society being solely to publish and disseminate the ideas of Liberal Christianity, the entire receipts in their treasury will be devoted to those ends with no profits accruing to any one.

We require a sufficient amount of funds to publish our new series, in much larger editions than our limited means have hitherto allowed; and our ability to do so will be greatly augmented by an early contribution. As only one dollar a year is required from each person, who cordially believes that a more liberal faith is necessary to the healthful growth of a Christian character, we earnestly invite all such, not only to contribute personally, but so to interest their friends in our behalf, that we may go on with confidence in our pecuniary success, as well as in the persistent advance of the cause to which we are so heartily devoted.

Bound copies of the first series of Tracts for the Times, can be obtained at fifty cents per volume.

Prices of New Series $1 a year, for two copies a month. $2 per hundred copies.

All subscriptions and applications for tracts, addressed by mail, with money, enclosed, to Mrs. Lucy C. Mayo, 32 Lodge street, or Miss Nancie Burton, 70 Chapel street, Albany, N. Y.



The President of the United States has appointed a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer, in view of the perilous condition of the country. We rejoice at this symptom of returning sanity in national affairs. We have never doubted that the wanton repudiation of God’s eternal laws of justice, honesty and humanity in high places would finally bring the Republic into the condition so impressively stated in this proclamation. It is too evident that “God’s Omnipotent arm only can save us from the awful effects of our own crimes and follies—our own ingratitude and guilt towards our Heavenly Father.”

Let us now approach the Almighty with no vain attempt to conceal our hearts from Him, or to delude ourselves and our fellow men. Let us earnestly look at our public dangers, that we may learn their source; and pray for light upon our path of duty. God helps only those who try to help themselves. He governs humanity by immutable laws which the prayers of a world cannot change. Let this call from the chief citizen of the Republic to national consecration persuade us all to study the divine law of American civilization; the extent of our departure from it; the obligation to obey it more faithfully in the days to come.

The present state of our country is not the result of any accidental or temporary cause. No radical statesmen or victorious party or company of professional agitators, has power to involve the Republic in such disturbance. These causes, so passionately and plausibly assigned, are themselves unimportant effects of the one chief cause. The Republic is now in a tumult because the progressive civilization of the nineteenth century has finally vanquished the combined[4] forces resisting its advent; deprived its chief opponent, the slave power, of the command in national affairs; and prepared to administer the government of the United States forever in the interest of Christian society. The past always dies hard, its struggles for a lease of life are the present agitation in American affairs. Let us briefly overlook the progress of this mighty conflict; the present state of the battle; the obligation of freemen in the crisis now upon us.

Eighty-four years ago, thirteen American colonies revolted from the British Empire. All acknowledged the right of property in one race of men. But only in six colonies was this idea inwrought into the texture of society; in seven northern provinces it was already a condemned barbarism. These seven northern colonies were inclined to believe in the natural right of every man to freedom sufficient to develop his own nature without hindrance to other men; a right to be forever asserted and secured by a government of the whole people. The masses of the six southern colonies believed heartily in the enslavement of the negro laborer, such enslavement to be ensured by an aristocratic form of society and organization of the State. The colony of Massachusetts was the foremost representative of the northern idea, which not only commanded majorities in seven provinces, but largely influenced the ablest patriot leaders of Virginia. The southern column was led by the Carolinas and Georgia. These states, with a white population of 480,000, contained 230,000 slaves. Throughout the Revolution they were the focus of indifference and opposition to the common cause; being practically a British province during most of the war. Their idea of society held the majority of the people in Virginia and Maryland, and governed an aristocratic party in the middle states, whose descendants abide with us to-day. The northern idea prevailed; wrote the Declaration of Independence; carried Washington through the war, and organized the government radically on the basis of civil and religious liberty for all races of men. The Carolinas and Georgia, at the last hour, forced into the Constitution a recognition of slavery, alien to its spirit, and supposed, by the wisest patriots, to be of temporary necessity. Thus did freedom triumph in 1787; though robbed of the complete fruits of victory by the obstinancy of a hostile idea.

Thus armed, free society girded itself up to the majestic toil of subduing and civilizing a new continent. It entrenched[5] itself on the rocky shores and snowy hills of New England, and made those six states the foremost representative of the true Democratic idea.

Under the auspices of Jay, King, Livingston and a band of like-minded statesmen, the idea was organized in the State of New York; the great constructive centre of American civilization.

It gradually forced negro slavery from three middle states, and then began to march its armies of emigration towards the Pacific. It compelled the national government to consecrate to liberty the area of five great states in the northwest. It created a new power in central and western New York, which confirmed the policy of the Empire State. It formed the civilization of the five northwestern states east of the Mississippi. When a new empire was brought in by the Louisiana purchase, it rallied its forces and secured the territory north of the Missouri Compromise Line, from which it already has fashioned three great states. It scaled the Rocky Mountains and covered Oregon and Washington with the proviso of freedom. And when the second vast empire was annexed to the national domain, it swept along its border and consecrated the whole Pacific coast to liberty.

The idea of society founded on civil and religious liberty for all men has laid the foundation of eighteen American states, containing, in 1860, 18,000,000 of people; the best commonwealths that were ever created in a time so brief. It has also, in less degree, influenced the rising confederacy of the Canadas, and is slowly preparing that vast region for self-government. It has diverted a large emigration from the Southern States, of men attracted by the hopes and opportunities of free society. Its possessions stretch from the northeastern coast of the Atlantic with southwesterly inclination to the southern shores of the Pacific, nearing the lower extremity of North America.

Although by no means of equal development, society in these eighteen free states is founded on the immutable principles of the natural rights of man. The laborer is a free man and a citizen. Social life is a democracy in which service to the community is the chief claim to preeminence. Education is the boon of every child, and the press and speech are free. The ballot in several Northern States is absolutely free to all men, and the current is setting in that direction in the remainder. In all these states the free worship of God is secured[6] by fundamental law. The radical tendency among these 18,000,000 of people is towards the complete establishment of a Christian democracy. Already the superiority of this portion of the Republic in all the elements of civilization is undisputed. Its commercial and industrial enterprise is the controlling force of the country’s material prosperity. Its agriculture leads in the majority of crops that can be tilled on northern soil; and it has three crops, either of which can buy up the whole special productions of the southern states. It is the seat of popular education. Its literature and art, and general refinement of life, represent the Union to the world. The present census brings it into its great inheritance of overwhelming political power. Its religion is nearer the Sermon on the Mount than ever was reached by 18,000,000 of people before. It is headed towards the kingdom of God more decisively than any nation of ancient or modern times.

But the north is by no means yet in the kingdom. Each of its radical ideas of free society is violated and perverted by a considerable portion of every commonwealth; some of its principles by entire states. Out of the competitions of free labor has sprung a fierce and selfish love of money which scorns honesty and tramples down man in its accursed lust for gold. Whole classes of men are cursed by this venal insanity which, culminating in the marble streets of the commercial metropolis, distills its venom to the remotest log cabin in the wilderness. Out of the opportunities of free social life has sprung a mushroom growth of vulgar social ambition, luxury and sensuality; which struggles to become the fashion on the pavement of the Atlantic city and in the “percussion” village of the west. The sacred freedom of printing and speech has been perverted to a satanic press and the open advocacy of every vagary of despotism and sin. Political freedom has been demoralized to the freedom of unlimited office seeking, the betrayal of human rights for individual success and fearful corruption in public affairs. And out of the noblest feature of our church, its liberty of worship, comes that pernicious strife for sectarian supremacy and worldly success which endangers the most liberal religious organizations.

These abuses of northern society marshal a host in New England. They rage through the great cities of the Middle States. They demoralize multitudes on the prairies, and on the Pacific struggle with fearful intensity for the possession of society. The point to which this tendency gravitates is popular[7] servility. So we have, in the North, a great crowd of men and women debauched by the abuse of the opportunities of free society, to the point of yielding to the blandishments and menaces of any despotism that promises to pay its way.

Let us distinctly understand that in this direction lies the sin and peril of northern civilization. It is not our free institutions and their faithful disciples which are endangering the peace of the country, as is slanderously asserted by every tyrant and tyrant’s jackall in America; but the chief peril of the Union is from this margin of servility in northern civilization, which is always in the market, ready to tamper with any abomination from abroad, within or without its own borders, as its wretched selfishness may be stimulated thereby. Perhaps its present direction is least dangerous to the national welfare. It now succumbs to the slave power of our Southern States, as the nearest, most powerful, and remunerative purchaser of its influence. Were there no slave power, it would be in league with foreign civil and religious despotism, or fasten upon some Northern institution as the representative of the aristocratic idea. But now it has turned its shameless face away from Northern civilization, which is growing up behind its back into an adamantine wall overtopping its base hopes and impotent threats. While its preachers, and politicians, and journals and saloons are facing towards despotism, and calling free society anarchy, the majority of the North is calmly marching onward to the victory for the right which is only a question of a few decades, unswayed by the promises, undaunted by the croakings of its margin of servility. The idea of free society, of which New England is the foremost representative, is gradually subduing every region of these eighteen states to itself.

And just as the New England idea, organized in the great Middle States and the Northwest, is approaching its day of conquest in the North, is the idea of South Carolina subduing the fifteen Southern States. South Carolina is now the most completely aristocratic State in the Confederacy. Fifty-eight per cent of her entire population are slaves. Her basis of representation in her Legislature is equally slave property and white population; one sixty-second of white people and one sixty-second of property having the same political weight. Her 25,000 slaveholders rule the little State with a rod of iron, and this phalanx is wheeled about by a smaller number of men than governs any State of the Union. In the Revolution[8] the great men of Maryland and Virginia clasped the hands of the North, and thus governed the Carolinas, wrested them from utter subjugation, and organized the Constitution over their heads. But South Carolina, Georgia and their children along the Gulf of Mexico have been gaining in power every day in the last half century.

South Carolina is now captain of eight States, with a white population of more than 2,000,000, owning a slave population of 1,800,000; 42 per cent of the whole people; with a monopoly of the cotton, rice and sugar crops; and a rapidly consolidating unanimity of sentiment. The seven more northern Slave States have a white population of 5,000,000, with 27 per cent of slavery. But they have no peculiar staple of production, excepting young negroes, and are wavering in social ideas and political policy. Freedom has planted a line of batteries along their borders in the form of nine growing cities containing a million and a half of people, in all of which free discussion is practically vindicated; several being already in the hands of the Northern idea. Thus wavering between extremes, these seven States are now being fought over as the body of Moses was by the angel and the Dragon. South Carolina, foremost of the host of despotism, has them by the throat, haling them towards the precipice of disunion. She has conquered them in every battle since they shrank from Northern fellowship; she brought in three slave States from the Louisiana Purchase; she drove the country into the Mexican war and secured Texas; she repealed the Missouri Compromise; she has procured the Dred Scott decision; and now, on the refusal of the North to ratify it, threatens to dissolve the Union, and commands the Central Slave States to come on.

Washington, Jefferson, Clay, Jackson, Benton; the great men of this region who withstood her claims are all dead, and who are their successors? All things look fearfully like a surrender of the seven northern Slave States to the idea of South Carolina and her seven confederates, just as the entire North has been wheeled into line by New England and her children of the North.

There is nothing strange in this. There was always plenty of railing against New England and her ideas in the Middle and Western States, which has ended in their conversion. Every great Preacher, Statesman, Thinker, in twelve States beyond the Hudson, has his heel on Plymouth Rock. New[9] England and her children believe wholly in the natural rights of man; therefore she conquers twelve States that do not exactly know whether man has or has not natural rights. South Carolina and her children disbelieve wholly in the natural rights of man. Therefore they subdue seven great States of wavering faith. The man, the State that believes with its whole heart, always in the end subdues the man or State that only half believes.

In every great national collision between the two civilizations, freedom has been nominally beaten, but actually victorious. The Revolution made nine States free. If the North was compelled to hide away slavery in the Constitution; she saved the Declaration of Independence; kept the word “slave” out of the charter of our liberties; abolished the slave trade; and secured the Northwest territory, five States, for liberty. The South cut up her remaining territories into four additional slave states; obtained Florida, from Spain; Louisiana and Arkansas from France, and then gave battle for Missouri. She gained the nominal victory of forcing 80,000 slaves into this State, and lost the remaining territory north of 36 deg. and 30 min., sufficient for half a dozen free commonwealths, which secured two States in the future beyond the Rocky Mountains. Thus, out of the Louisiana Purchase, slavery has gained but two States, and kept back Missouri fifty years from her natural condition of freedom; while the North has gained already three free States; and has, beside Kansas, half a dozen territories in reserve, ready to come in.

The next great battle was in 1844, when slavery grasped Texas, and plunged the country into a war to extend her territory. The end of that was a nominal defeat of liberty, but the real defeat of slavery. For the South has only gained thereby an additional slave population of 60,000 in Texas; a vast, region whose western border is already in the hands of free men; a fugitive slave law, whose imperfect enforcement has greatly served to alienate the Northern mind, and reduce the escape of slaves to a science; and a barren promise of several new States in Texas, New Mexico, and Utah, if she can get them. The North secured the State of California, which has shut off the Pacific from slavery, and planted a mighty free State like a circular battery, covering all the newly acquired Mexican Territory. The regions west of Texas will finally be peopled from free California. They are[10] now sparsely populated, because unfit for settlement. But if gold or silver mines or profitable agricultural districts should be discovered in this vast wilderness, there would be a hegira that way which would “re-enact the will of God” beyond hope of repeal.

Then came the battle of 1854, when the South abolished the Missouri Compromise, to steal Kansas, and lost this territory and wounded slavery to death in Missouri, thus planting two great States over against Western Texas and the Indian Possessions, which must be settled therefrom.

Then, in desperation, the slave power sentenced all the territories of the United States to slavery; and the North has declared, unanimously, by a popular vote of 3,250,000 against 200,000, that she will not permit this subversion of the Constitution.

Thus stand the forces on the field. Slavery has fifteen states; three of which are turning one ear to freedom. Freedom has eighteen states, with double their white population, and holds the two strategical points, California and Kansas, which cover every territory, and make it almost impossible that new slave states should be permanently sustained therein. And now the North has united to confine the peculiar institution within its present limits. In the Union, the battle is fought and won. Slavery, nominally the victor, has been really defeated in every contest since the Revolution. She has violated every compromise, and thus morally put it out of her power to demand concession from liberty. The slave power to-day stands beaten, surrounded, and dependent for its very existence on the will of the Free States.

Is it strange that South Carolina raises the Palmetto flag, and sends the order down the whole line to march out of the Union? She has fewer entangling alliances with freedom than any of her followers; and, with an eye sharpened by long observation of the conditions of aristocratic society, sees that its doom is sealed. She knows, as Virginia and Maryland do not, that there can be no more reliable extension of the slave power in the Union, as now constituted, and as it will inevitably be administered in the future. She is sick at heart, and understands that all her physicians are quacks, who propose only palliatives, in helpless inability to cure her disease. What cares she for a new fugitive slave law when the old one cannot be enforced, and every Negro carried back to bondage leaves a town full of new-made abolitionists behind?[11] Will it help her to declare that all the territories shall choose freedom or slavery for themselves, when Yankee Jonathan, German Hans and Irish Patrick are swarming on the borders of every territory where a civilized man can live? The offer of new slave states in the southwestern deserts does not console her, for she remembers that of the four slave states admitted into the Union within the last thirty years, two are insignificant, and Texas and Missouri are already in a state of siege by freedom, while free states stand, rank behind rank, awaiting an open door. Do her comforters offer protection in the territories? New Mexico has 62,000 square miles, and has about one slave to 1,000 square miles, and this is her most hopeful scion at present; very like protecting a dead horse against a general muster of crows. What of the abstract right to carry slaves through states that daily hate slavery more bitterly? Are compromises offered in any of these directions? The spectre of one great compromise, murdered in the Capitol, rises like Banquo’s ghost, and shrieks, “thou sent compromise to the grave; who calls up my unquiet shadow to haunt the day?” A compromise is henceforth only a law; so has slavery willed; freedom responds: “so let it be forevermore.” Lay upon freedom whatever compromises you will, she henceforth walks through and beyond them like a living man through a churchyard full of wavering shadows. What can the Supreme Court do for her case? She has shown us that court can be made to yield to the reigning spirit of the day, and gained all she asked for slavery. Another day will dawn, and the court will look to that rising sun. Will she change the Constitution? But no act of to-day can bind posterity. A perpetual provision for slavery there is setting up a king over the Constitution. The North to-day will set up no king; if it does the North of to-morrow will dethrone him.

The slave power, as represented by South Carolina, wants primarily but one thing—a complete reversal of Northern moral convictions and social ideas. That change of civilization would permit her to open the slave trade and acquire new territory for slave States. All these things are impossible in the Union as headed now. Therefore, South Carolina turns her back on it, and gives the command: forward, the whole line towards—we’ll see when we get out. We must confess there is no link wanting in this logic of the slave power. If it stays in the Union, it must be girdled, year by[12] year, more irresistibly by freedom; as a great snow bank feels the April sun, day by day, enclosing it in glittering lines, and already dissolves in thought of June mornings ahead. With the most determined effort to keep its hands off the slave power, the spirit of American liberty will be compelled to deal with it more vitally every year. The age is forcing it towards this policy. Every school house and meeting house, free home, free journal, and country lyceum in the United States is a protest against this barbarism. It may be as well said at once that what the slave power calls abolitionism, is simply the spirit of the nineteenth century applied to American Society. Every man who lives in that spirit is to it an abolitionist, with his own will, or spite of his will, must help abolish human slavery. I doubt not the political fidelity of the North to all constitutional obligations; but if the fifteen slave states remain in the Union they must finally become free states. Freedom is aggressive. Virtue, truth, humanity, God are aggressive. The fathers intended that slavery should die a peaceful death in the Union, and the sons will not forget the tradition. The slave power now hears her sentence read and sees the executioner on the way. South Carolina counsels it to prolong its life by flying beyond jurisdiction of the court. But if the slave power flies from the Union, it is only rushing from the house of a regenerating friend into an open country peopled by its foes. The civilization of the age is against it. The South must, first or last, regenerate her false order of society, or walk towards final destruction.

What is the duty of the North in this perilous condition of affairs?

First. The paramount duty of the eighteen Northern States is to preserve and perpetuate the Christian civilization already inaugurated within their borders, and permit the sacred cause of liberty to suffer no eclipse.

Second. The North has now become the natural protector of the Southern people against the tyranny of the slave power, and must do its uttermost to prevent the conquest of fifteen states by this remorseless tyranny.

The North has one obligation more sacred than all others; to preserve the sacred rights of man and carry forward the work of a Christian civilization on this continent. These eighteen states now occupy the foremost position in the world, and cannot abandon it without such danger and disgrace[13] as no good man can calmly contemplate. Whatever they do, Humanity, Christianity, God command them to surrender nothing of that which they hold in trust as the agent for mankind and posterity.

This is a sufficient answer to the demands of that margin of servility in the North which asks us to surrender anything and everything to the cause of the Union. This wretched school of advisers counsel nothing less than unconditional submission to the extreme demands of an insolent oligarchy, whose turbulent and dishonest despotism has already brought the country to the brink of ruin. To satisfy Mr. Charles O’Conor, the Rev. Mr. Van Dyke, and their disciples, we must change our whole type of society; forswear all that gives us power at home and fame abroad; place ourselves under a general espionage more hateful than the rule of an emperor; and conspire to crush a whole race of men in the dust forever. This cannot be done. Northern civilization is looking towards the golden rule of Christ. Its social, civil, industrial, educational, religious associations are all slowly adjusting themselves to the Christian idea of the equal rights of all men. Should our people now be persuaded or forced to repudiate these ideas; turn their backs on the spirit of the age; hold every principle on sale; make their pavements and fields too servile for the tread of freemen, it would be a calamity in comparison with which the sinking of every despotic state in the depths of the sea would be a blessing. Our great commercial cities are full of adventurers from every part of the world, who, caring nothing for republican institutions, only look to their own aggrandizement in wealth and personal position. Every county holds a politician base enough to flatter this class of men to gain an office. The pulpits of the North are not yet rid of the servants of this Sadducism. It is not strange that this whole margin of servility is stirred to its nauseous depth in favor of unlimited concession to the slave power. It would be monstrous if this great North cast down her noblest and wisest advisers and followed the lead of this motley crew. It may or may not be necessary that certain men should be rich, famous, or in office; but that eighteen states who represent the loftiest civilization on the earth should commit social suicide to further such trivial objects is too much to contemplate.

But there is a better class of advisers who counsel the North to compromise and conciliation, with the hope of[14] weathering the present gale, and ultimately keeping the ship on the track of a Christian democracy. They sincerely believe the American Union is the best hope of freedom on this continent; that united, these States must finally reach the promised land; dissevered, they will drift into hopeless anarchy. We appreciate the motives and understand the apprehensions of this large body of the Northern people. We wish they took less counsel of their fears, and saw more clearly the danger of experimenting on a thing so sensitive as human rights. We think they are too much concerned to learn what will appease our despotism, forgetting that it is unappeasable; while they also forget that there is a sentiment of freedom that will not submit beyond a fixed point, and that point of endurance is already near. We know that successful statesmanship must be a series of approaches to abstract right, and no great idea of liberty can be organized at once. We do not presume to explain the details of our public policy in a region where the political landscape changes every morning; and it is absurd to ask our advanced statesmen to sacrifice the permanent interest of liberty to a verbal consistency. No party can always be guided by its own platform; especially can no great national policy be run upon the straight track of a fore-ordained programme.

Therefore, we believe in all methods of conciliation and forbearance that do not vitiate the spirit of liberty in the people or imperil the final triumph of freedom in the country. Let us keep the conscience of the North sound, its spirit high, its determination unchangeable for a true civilization. We must abate none of our great agencies of freedom. The free school, the free press, free speech, free society, a free ballot, a free church must be sustained at all hazards, and purified of grossness and license by the gradual education and refining of the people. Our political state policy must be maintained, and only changed in the direction of purging the cause of freedom from all base alloy, and opening into wider vistas of Christian liberty. Then we must choose men for our servants in national offices whose fidelity to God and man are undoubted; instruct them to see that the cause of humanity receives no harm, and trust much to their wisdom in the details of public policy. It is daily becoming a more difficult task to guide our national affairs. Only the highest order of ability, experience and unflinching principle can suffice for the mighty toil. The Northern[15] people will sacrifice every man, however lofty, who turns his back against the present age. They will resent any measure whose effect is to undermine Northern ideas, however imperceptibly. But they will give a generous margin for that policy of wise conciliation, which will preserve the Union to freedom forever.

Let our servants remember we forgive all things to devotion to our common humanity; we pardon any policy, that finally keeps us in the current of the nineteenth century; but we forgive no man who, through fear, or flattery, or ignorance, or any motive, puts in peril the cause of human rights. For such there is everlasting political punishment. Our rulers must not open the African slave trade; or make our northern cities the depots of the infamous traffic in men; or permit further acquisition of territory for slavery; or change the Republic into a machine to assist and protect property in man wherever our flag is planted. The national policy must aim at a final limitation of slavery in the nation, and a transferal of the whole controversy to the slave states. Whoever can best accomplish this shall be approved.

Only by this zealous upholding of freedom in eighteen states can the North educate herself to her secondary obligation to preserve the Union by defending the people of the South against the slave power. Whatever may be the capacity of liberty in the free states to sustain a disruption of the Union; it is morally certain that the only rational hope of liberty in fifteen southern states is in their continuance of the partnership in a national government administered in the interests of human rights. Were these fifteen states to-day severed from our connection and united in a slave empire, they would be ever haunted by three specters, either more formidable than any present danger. Their intestine conflicts would compare with our present agitation like the spouting of a volcano to the sputtering of a coal fire. A thousand ambitious and unscrupulous characters stand waiting that event to run the wild race for power whose goal is anarchy. There could be no permanent union between South Carolina and Maryland; Mississippi and Kentucky; for revolutions do not go backward, and the forces that would sweep fifteen states out of the Union would fatally drift any new government they should create towards a military despotism. They would be in constant danger from servile insurrection; and the rapid increase of slave population would necessitate a[16] reign of terror through all their borders. They would perpetually be urged into wars with every civilized power; for nobody supposes the nations of the world will permit a black empire to open the slave trade and steal unlimited territory. On whatever side we look, the only hope of free institutions in the south is adherence to a Union working towards the freedom of man.

This preservation of the Union for liberty can only be accomplished by a co-operation of the moderate men and class of the South with the party of freedom in the North. This class has too long made the fatal mistake of choosing its Northern allies from those who misrepresented the Northern conscience and society. They have read the journals that live by maligning our civilization, and kept in power a set of politicians who could not be chosen to preside over a town meeting at home. If any man has made himself specially obnoxious to the people of New England, New York or the Great West, by treason to their higher convictions, we have seen him lifted into some exalted position by the voice of those whose only hope of salvation is the confidence of the Northern heart. The moderate men of the South have counseled too often with this irresponsible section of the free states, and, of course, are now left to drift.

If this Union is to be saved, the border slave states must change their policy. Their wisest and most patriotic men must, like Washington, and Jefferson, and Clay and Benton, clasp the hands of the real North; the North that is faced towards liberty; and demand of it all consideration and support consistent with true civilization. Let them no longer parley with the political, social and commercial traitors who promise what they never can perform—a reversal of Northern ideas of society. Let them convince us that they have at heart the freedom of the Republic, and their counsels for moderation and fraternal action will have the weight they deserve. The real danger now is that the freemen of the North have come to distrust this better class of the South. When they see venerable statesmen like Bell yielding to the uttermost demands of the slave power in his adoption of the heresy of universal protection for slavery by the General Government, and uniting in the vulgar slander that the majority of our people has embarked in an unconstitutional and fanatical crusade against Southern rights; or a man like Crittenden proposing to surrender to the secessionists the privilege of[17] making a dozen Alabamas below the parallel of 36 degrees 30 minutes; to convert the metropolis of the Union into the great slave market of the world; and put into the Constitution a perpetual guaranty for slavery, when every provision for liberty is subject to amendment; or when Mr. Stephens tells us our only hope is in complete surrender to the platform of the extreme South, what are we to think? Are the entire slave states so debauched by their institutions that what their representative men call “compromise,” is only the yielding every point in issue between the two civilizations? Are the New York Herald and Caleb Cushing to be perpetual representatives of northern society: and is the Union to be sacrificed because the whole people of the South believe their infamous slanders about us? Then, indeed, is hope for Southern freedom lost; unless freedom, in fire-eating parlance, means liberty to enslave mankind till the end of time.

We behold in the firm attitude of a few Southern patriots of the Washington and Jefferson school, the only hope for the salvation of the country. They know that the majority of the North never did and will not propose to abolish slavery in the Slave States by the General Government against their own desire. They know that any administration inaugurated by this majority will protect the Southern people against all danger of war, intestine conflict, invasion or insurrection. They know that we propose to limit slavery to its present possessions only for the safety of the Union, and the defence of the Southern people from the most insolent oligarchy that ever ruled on earth. If they can unite with us to keep the Union as it is; to defeat the extreme demands of Davis and Yancy, and O’Conor; to gradually localize the slavery controversy in fifteen States, which, under the paternal protection of the nation, may work out this painful problem by the increasing lights of our age, we can be their friends, and finally deliver them all from harm. We will do and suffer everything for ourselves to this glorious result; but we have no right to sacrifice the cause of human rights on a whole continent to please 350,000 slaveholders. We know that, in any event, the united North must protect the Southern people against the slave power. If they tear away from us now, we shall be called before twenty years to defend them against foreign invasions, servile war, and intestine anarchy.[18] If they stay with us, we can protect them with less peril to human life, and more security in the issue.

For, come what will, the North will never desert the people of the South. It will desert the slave power that now rages against our Union and Humanity, tie it up, and leave it to be dealt with by those who know it best. But the millions of white people, our friends and neighbors, our brothers, fathers, lovers and children, inhabiting these vast areas, cannot be torn out of our hearts, or spirited by any demoniac influence beyond our guardian care. The millions of bondmen, who now till those fields, cannot be sacrificed forever to please any clique of tyrants or make the corner stone to any temple of eternal Pagan barbarism. We shall care for both, and shall do our utmost to save the whole Southern people from the dreadful perils of the present and the more fearful danger of the future. No wall of separation can be raised so high that the growing civilization of the North will not overlook it, and, like the sun in mid-heaven, shine down with beneficent rays on the just and unjust, protecting the good, succoring the fallen, regenerating the evil. O! that God would give our brothers of the South the clearness and calmness to see that Northern civilization contemplates harm to no man; is beneficent like God’s love; in truth is, in its ideal, the Love of God applied to the life of a new world.

The future is not clear, and he is a bold man who can prophecy a month ahead. It may be that we are at the end; that the slave power has conquered fifteen states and is about to lead them out into the desert of a barbaric experiment in despotic society. If so, let us not deluge our land with fraternal blood, but let them all go in peace; clinging together at home and girding ourselves up to the mighty task of finally saving them from the anarchy that surely lies across their path. Perhaps the margin of servility in the North will gain a temporary victory, and in concert with a united slave power, enact some infamous concession over our heads. Then we must only close up and move on, as in the past; for freedom repudiates all surrender to tyranny now and forever, and there must be a final victory for the right.

Perchance the nobler civilization of the South will arise in its might, and, in concert with the real North, adopt some wise and conciliatory policy for the whole country which will sacrifice no right of the people and impair no hope of the Republic; and then hold in the few revolting states from[19] secession. If so, the hour of freedom has indeed struck, and the knell of despotism in this Union is tolled. Let us pray for the wisdom, justice, love that shall regenerate us from our sins, and overrule our transgressions in the past, to the advancement of the kingdom of God on earth, and the uplifting of His best creature—man.

Transcriber’s Notes:

Punctuation and spelling inaccuracies were silently corrected.

Archaic and variable spelling has been preserved.