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Thu Dec 22 2011, 11:58AM

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..."It has been the fault of living American statesmen that they could not see when it was living and large before their eyes, a political necessity foreseen by the great founders of their constitution as the probable issue of differences even much less extreme than those which have been created by the later sequence of events. How little the actual extension of slavery was concerned in the discussion whether a new territory should be free or slave, is shown in the case of New Mexico. This territory has been organised more than ten years. It lies at the extreme south, and adjoins a slave state; its soil as well as its climate are suitable for slave labour; it is open to slavery, which is protected there by the Supreme Court of the United States. Yet in ten years this region, four times as large as England, has acquired a population of but twenty-two slaves, and of these only twelve are domiciled. And, urges Mr. Spence (from whose excellent recent book on the American Union we draw much of our argument), in the cry against New Mexican slavery, are we to suppose that the conscience of the North is so framed that it grieves over this poor dozen, at the same time that it endures four millions close at home?" That it endures, we may add, more than three thousand in the district of Colombia itself, the capital district of the Union, lying unshielded by the constitution in the absolute control of congress. But we may go on to show more clearly that, hateful as all slavery is, and most desirable above all things as is the advent of the day when there shall be no more slaves, white or black, a high moral consideration of the evils of slavery on one side, and a highly immoral determination to prolong them on the other, is neither the root nor the fruit of the deplorable war now raging iu America."...
More to come...

[All The Year Round, A Weekly Journal, by Charles Dickens, Mar-Sep 1861. Vol. 5]


..."The American constitution was framed by slaveholders for a slaveholding republic. But the accidents of soil and climate, making slave labour comparatively useless north of a certain latitude, and apparently convenient south of it, joined with the ever widening difference of character in the two populations to clear of slavery the states of the North and concentrate it in the South."...

..."The Union first consisted of thirteen little societies on the Atlantic side of North America. It consists now of two great opposing powers, from which, after their accepted disruption, a great western region on the shores of the Pacific is again likely to fall off into quiet independence. The struggle between North and South has been of long duration. South having the lead in the federation, had fought some hard political battles to retain it, and had already been beaten on some vital points. Put at the last presidential election, which was a trial of strength distinctly between South and North, the South considering itself finally subjected to the North within the federation, carried out its frequent threat and desire of secession."...

..."The North, if it had not been divided into its own factions, would now have been irresistible. But use could be made of Northern faction in the Southern interests. What are called the Republicans of the North represent its Conservative and Protectionist party, which include whatever is reckoned as the aristocracy. These are opposed by the South, partly because they represent the strength of the free states, partly because they are protectionist where protection is not to the interest of Southern trade. Against the Republicans, therefore, the Southern party has fought, and has been able often to prevail, even in the House of Representatives, by coalition with the Northern democrats. But in the midst of all this painful balancing of interests there came the last presidential election. Every Northern state voted for Mr. Lincoln. Every Southern state voted against him. Jefferson had said long ago that "a geographical line, coinciding with a marked principle, moral and political, once conceived and held up to the angry passions of men, will never be obliterated, and every irritation will make it deeper and deeper." Here was the geographical line distinctly chosen for the demarcation of two rival interests. The Northern States had one hundred and eightythree votes; the Southern one hundred and twenty. The North had shown that it could act in a mass and be irresistible as the stronger half in ill-assorted union. Then the South, feeling that within the Union the staff had finally gone from its hands, determined to withdraw from a federal compact that imposed on it a government hostile in spirit and adverse in policy to its commercial interest."...

..."There is but one field of industry—the plantation—and industry is brought from without to occupy it. There could be no more fatal blow dealt to the South than this that comes of the working of its own "peculiar institution." But the North is really fighting not to destroy or confine, but to claim its right of continued participation in this institution. The Southern planter, holding his slave to be property, desires security in its possession, and that he had and can only have under the sort of union from which, on other accounts, he has withdrawn. The constitution of the United States, framed by slaveowners, gave the whole might of the Union for suppression of slave insurrection. It provided also for the capture and restoration into bondage of any escaped slave. The capital of the Union that the North fights to maintain is a slave-holding city, and it's federal court decrees slavery to be a prison with walls wide as the country. Within the Union there was and there would be, were the Union restored, no place of lawful hope for the fugitive from a thraldrom which every man has a just right to throw off if he can. If, therefore, detestation of slavery were really the animating spirit of the North, it should rejoice at a division by which it is parted for ever from the unclean thing, and enabled, like England, to declare every man free whose foot touches its soil. But instead of rejoicing to be clear of the taint, instead of exulting at a change which confines the slave system to the slave-holding states, and not only absolves the North from the degrading duties of slave-catcher, but gives it a chance of strangling the whole system of slave labour with a girdle of freedom, the states of the North fight—if for anything at all in the way of slavery, for nothing but continuance of their participation in the wrong. The South, instead of seceding for the sake of slavery, secedes in spite of the fact that its separate maintenance will expose them, under that head, to risks and losses against which the Union would afford security. The Chicago manifesto of the Northern party, now supreme, adopts as its fourth article the maintenance inviolate of the rights of the states, and especially the right of each state to order and control its own domestic institutions, while the small party of thorough-going abolitionists, without political importance, though now hot with the Unionists, has been accustomed to claim "justice for the slave at any price," and to deprecate what its leaders sometimes called "the blood-stained Union." "This Union," said William Lloyd Garrison, one of their chief authorities, "this Union is a lie; the American Union is a sham, an imposture, a covenant with death, an agreement with hell." Mr. Lincoln, on the other hand, said most distinctly, in his inaugural address: "I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists; I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so." He expressed in the same speech his willingness that the Fugitive Slave Law, as a provision of the constitution, "should be made express and irrevocable."...

..."Of whom, then, are we to believe, and with what shadow of truth can it be represented to us, that the fight of the North is against slavery, or that the secession of the South is for its preservation? Nobody doubts that the party use made of the slave question has embittered feeling between South and North. But the main party use of it has been for the raising of political capital on behalf of other interests than those of the slave. Even the separation of the South from these sources of irritation must be reckoned, with every more material consequence of its establishment as a separate republic, among the changes that all tend to clear away some of the difficulties in the way of a sound reconsideration of the slave system. The division of the Union into two adjacent republics, one slave-holding, the other free, would, in fact, bring us very many years nearer to the end of slavery than a continuance of the old system under a great Union pledged to support as a whole the evil that afflicts a half."...

[All The Year Round, A Weekly Journal, by Charles Dickens, Mar-Sep 1861. Vol. 5]

[ Edited Thu Dec 22 2011, 12:01PM ]
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Thu Dec 22 2011, 12:00PM

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Part 2--

From Vol. 5 "The Federalist cry of anti-slavery as a casus belli is not altogether a true issue. We have here shown what the cause of the disruption is not. We shall show next week what the cause of the disruption is."
Vol. 6

(Continued from the "American Disunion" by Charles Dickens)


If it be not in slavery, where lies the partition of the interests that has led at last to actual separation of the Southern from the Northern States? In the original constitution of the Union it was provided that "all duties imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;" also that "no tax or duty shall be laid upon articles exported any state. No preference shall be given any regulation of commerce or revenue to ports of one state over those of another." A general export duty upon rice would have levied substantially on South Carolina. If duty had been levied on tobacco, Virginia would have had to pay it. Where the climate varied so much and the whole Union was, as it then was agricultural, no export duty have been borne evenly by all. But as were then no manufactures, duties on imports affected all alike. These were then small, varying only from five to about seven and a half cent. The war with this country in eighteen thirteen prevented the import of manufactures. An extension of manufacturing enterprise within the states themselves was the result, and in the North not only took the lead by virtue its climate, coal, free labour, water power, and above all, its energetic and laborious spirit enterprise, but its lead was so complete as to virtually a monopoly. Thus to the other of contrast between North and South it added that one became manufacturing, the other remained agricultural. After the war manufactures were poured in from abroad, the young home trade suffered, protection was then an undetected fallacy, the very prosperity of English trade was commonly ascribed to it.

The United States, with the full assent and aid of those of the South, therefore set up a moderate protective tariff. Usual results followed. The protected interests clamoured for more and more assurance of the comfort of monopoly; and as political morality also declined, the moderate protective system decayed into corrupt political bargains between special interests, to impose for their own profit heavy taxes upon other interests. In the year twenty three a large increase to many existing duties was proposed for the benefit of the manufacturers. The South felt then that it was called on to pay tribute for the benefit of the North and resisted the proposal. It was carried against them by a peculiar sort of political jobbery that secured a majority of five in the House of Representatives and four in the Senate. In twenty eight there was another struggle of the same sort in which the State of Pennsylvania took the lead, and on behalf chiefly of the textile fabrics of the North, a general bounty was, in fact to be paid by the agricultural interest. In the debate in the House of Representatives one of the chief speakers even then said, "If the union of these states shall ever be severed, and their liberty subverted, the historian who records those disasters will have to ascribe to measures of this description. I do believe that neither this government nor free government can exist for a quarter of century under such a system of legislation." For a quarter of a century the system was persisted in; then shortly came the end that is before our eyes.

In thirty two the tariff came again under revision. Excessive duties had produced surplus of income; reductions were, therefore, to be made, and the manufacturing interest strove that there should be no reduction of the bounties upon manufactures. The agriculturists fought then for a fair share of the relief to be accorded, but without success. In vain had Mr Hayes of South Carolina exclaimed in debate, "Remove, I earnestly beseech you, from among us this never failing source of contention. Dry up at its course this fountain of the waters of bitterness. It is in your power to do it this day by doing equal justice to all. And be assured that he to whom the country shall be indebted for this blessing will be considered as the second founder of the republic."

The injustice of the North caused the assemblage of a Convention, called by the people of South Carolina, which proceeded to declare the tariff null and void on the ground that "Congress had exceeded its just powers under the constitution, which confers on it no authority to afford such protection, and had violated the true meaning and intent of the constitution, which provides for equality in imposing the burdens of taxation upon the several States." Jackson, a Southerner, himself opposed to the tariff, was then President. While he strongly condemned the revolt of South Carolina he introduced a bill to remove the grievance. This lay dormant in the house till news arrived that South Carolina, ready to secede, was arming a militia and preparing for extremities. Then Mr Clay, interposed as a mediator, and a measure of his, satisfactory to South Carolina, which provided for a large but gradual reduction of the duties upon manufactures- a reduction spread over ten years- was pushed through the house with unprecedented rapidity, by an evasion of the rules. At the end of the ten years, government expenses had so largely increased that the settlement was repudiated, and from that day to this, protection has enriched Northern manufacturers at the expense of the Southern agriculturists. Disguised often under the name of revenue, all American tariffs since the year sixteen have been protective, and the immenso excess of this protection has been in favour the manufacturing interest of the North. It is true that here and there a Southern interest has taken advantage on its own behalf of a system that it was found impossible to overthrow. The duty on sugar, for example, has been higher than it would have been but for consideration of the interests of Louisiana. But the profit of a few districts bears little or no relation to the loss of the whole South by a system that compelled it to pay a heavy fine into the pockets of the Northern manufacturers as the price of its equal participation in the privileges of the constitution. The price is heavier than that. While the cost is raised of what it buys, the value of what it sells is lowered, because the American tariff is a check on the convenient, and to each side profitable, way of payment, by exchange of commodities. The South was sending to this countrv alone agricultural produce to the value of thirty millions a year, and its whole trade was fettered for the benefit other interests within the Union that it has cast off as a hopeless clog upon its progress.

The last grievance of the South was the Morrill tariff, passed as an election bribe to State of Pennsylvania, imposing among things, a duty of no less than fifty per cent. the importation of pig iron, in which that state is especially interested. As the freight of Glasgow iron to New York itself adds fifty per cent. to its price in America, the protection is no less than a hundred per cent. in favour of the Pennsylvanians. Protection in its most extravagant form is the characteristic this tariff. On the same article there will be both a specific and an ad valorem duty. We will illustrate by a few sentences from Mr Spence's account of the Morrill tariff the ridiculous complexity arising from the selfishness of this impediment to trade:

"As the Morrill tariff illustrates in a manner many of the views expressed and has hardly been analysed as its merits deserve, it may he well to look a little closely into this latest specimen of American legislation. The effect of doing so will be astonishment that such a law could be passed at the present day. The outrageous amount of the duties imposed on articles of prime importance at a time when all other civilised countries are reducing duties, and removing impediments to trade, will not excite more surprise than the blunders, the petty favouritism, the absence of all rule or system, the want of all legislative capacity which it displays. It would be difficult to contrive more ingenious machinery for dealing injustice, restricting commerce, perplexing merchants, creating disputes, inviting chicanery, or driving officers of the customs to despair.

A specific duty has the advantage of being definite simple and free from risk of fraud, but as prices fluctuate, it may become much more light or onerous in relation to the cost of the article than it was designed to be. An ad valorem duty escapes this evil, but is without those advantages. To attach to one article two duties, one on the specific, and the other on the ad valorem principle, is a contrivance by which to obtain the evils of both with the advantages of neither. It is incredible that any one reflecting on the subject could fail to see the impolicy of imposing the two on the same article, yet the Morrill tariff does this not in a few instances, but generally throughout the range of manufactured goods. "

[All The Year Round, A Weekly Journal, by Charles Dickens, Sep. 1861-Mar. 1862. Vol. 6]


Vol. 6

(Continued from the "American Disunion" by Charles Dickens)


...If a measure like this were passed by collusion of interests- which the American legislator familiarly recognizes as” log rolling”- “You help to roll my log, and I’ll help to roll yours”- if it were so passed and its doubtful fate by delay, lobbying, and a final rush, so much the more was it disgraceful to the Union, much the more might it disgust those to whom it was the crowning injury in a course of injurious legislation. Congress has met again and added to the measure, making it more, not less, protective and restrictive. That it disgusts the best half of the North heartily hope; we see also that it has the last threads which bound the North and South together. The severance, already far advanced, needed but one little stroke along the whole line of division.
In each year since 1837, the North has taken at least eight million of pounds, for the avowed purpose of protecting its own manufacturers and shipping. Every year, for some years back, this or that Southern state has declared that would submit to this extortion only while it had not strength for resistance. When the day resistance came, the dishonest compromise attributed to Mr Seward is a suggestion to the Southerners of Mexico and Cuba for themselves, and Canada for the North. The secession, six months after it was complete was unresisted by the North, and the departure South Carolina from the compact was not as departure of an English county from its loyalty, but of a sovereign state with its own legislature laws and law courts, its own civil and military organizations. Whether secession be a constitutional right it is not worth while discuss by refinements of interpretation. The whole argument turns on a nice distinction between fact and law. What question is this where every feeling and interest of one side calls for political partition, and every pocket interest calls on the other side for union, with violence enough to breed a civil war, horrible almost beyond precedent. The conflict is between semi independent communities, differing in many cases as widely as possible in manners, laws, and interests, and all jealous of their freedom.

Each state has been the country of its citizens, a country not seldom larger in itself than France or Germany. Of all these countries, over a vast region the people declare the Union is no longer advantageous to them. And all this, as the Oxford professor of international law has well observed, “ in a country which has treasured the right of revolt as the charter of its own freedom, and regarded the exercise of it as restrained only by motives of prudence, and needing no public justification except out of ‘a decent respect for the opinions of mankind;’ a country- the only one in the world which has made the theory of a social compact the basis of its institutions; which was the first to promulgate formally the doctrine that ‘all just governments derive their power from the consent of the governed,’ and has never ceased to applaud every application of that doctrine abroad, nor to teach and proclaim it at home. So the case stands, and under all the passion of parties and the cries of battle lie the two chief moving causes of the struggle. Union means so many millions a year lost to the South; secession means the loss of the same millions to the North. The love of money is the root of this as of many many other evils.

While these pages are passing through the press, a new proof has arrived from the States that the quarrel between North and South is, as it stands solely a fiscal quarrel. In the political heart of the North itself a separate secession is threatened by the Abolitionists. The standard they have raised, as if it were a new one, other than that under which the South is being fought is Emancipation of the Slaves. Against abolition, the government, following up the policy distinctly indicated by its dismissal Fremont, rage quite as fiercely as they rage against the Southern Confederates.

Freedom in almost any form never appeals sympathy in vain; and a direct issue in form, even with the slenderest hopes of realization, would win back those sympathies the denial of which the North bitterly complains of. But unfortunately Abolitionists add the arming of the slaves to their programme or “platform”. This the government profess to be too horrible a measure to be entertained without a shudder. Such a servile war would indeed, if successfully instigated, be too dreadful to be deliberately thought of. It would be an awful risk to try such a proof of fidelity which the South attributes to its slaves: if the slaves love and respect their masters as much as the masters say they do, arms, if put into their hands might possibly be turned against their loved and respected proprietors, in a way little short of extermination.

[All The Year Round, A Weekly Journal, by Charles Dickens, Sep. 1861-Mar. 1862. Vol. 6]

(Submitted By David Upton)

[ Edited Thu Dec 22 2011, 12:02PM ]
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