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Abolition and Negro Equality

Brownson's Quarterly Review, April, 1864

Art. III.-Speech of Wendell Phillips, Esq., at the Annual Meeting of the Anti-Slavery Society, Tremont Temple, Boston, January 28, 1864.

That Mr. Phlllips is one of the ablest and most eloquent men in the United States cannot well be doubted; and that he is perfectly honest and sincere in his devotion to the abolition of slavery, and the elevation of the negro race in the country, is just as little to he doubted. No one can read one of his speeches and not say to himself, Here isan honest man speaking his honest thought; here is an able man, an educated man, a cultivated man, of large and libe­ral views, a man of genius, of heart, of soul, devoting all his mind, all his intelligence, and all his energy, to the cause of the poor and oppressed. Such a man, however we may differ from him on this or that point, we are forced to re­spect and love. He had, and could have, no selfish or sinister motive for espousing the cause of the slave, and giving up his life to the Negro. He started life from a social position, with talents, learning, genius, arid accomplishments which could not fail, with ordinary industry, to open to him the doors to the highest professional honors, or to the highest political distinctions his country had to offer. The beaten track was for him, if he chose to follow it, the sure path of ambition, both smooth and easy of ascent. He chose to forego his advantages, to brave public opinion, to bind himself to an unpopular cause, to suffer reproach for it. and to be branded as an incendiary, to be hissed by the mob, and to incur the Wrath and hatred of all the sleek respectabilities in both church and state. Such a man does not so expose himself from vulgar ambition, or without being governed by lofty principles, and animated by noble and generous sentiments. He has in him the stuff of a true man.

It has never been my lot to be a co-operator with Mr. Phillips in his special work; indeed, he has found me always one of his most steady, persevering, and determined opponents. Yet have I always loved his noble and genial spirit, respected his humanity, and honored his disinterest­edness. I have always regarded him as a genuine man, a living man-one who thinks and has the courage to act out his thought. I. have always sympathized with him as to the end he proposed, but rarely as to the means by which he sought to gain it. Mr. Phillips was, and is, a philan­thropist-a sincere and earnest believer in the democratic principle, and I am not, and never have been. Philan­thropy is a great word; but nature has not made me a philanthropist. I am a Christian, and aim to discharge my Christian duties, both to God and to my fellow-men. But philanthropy is a sentiment, not a principle, and I never suffer myself to build any system, religious, philosophical, ethical, or political, on any sentiment, however generous or noble it may be, for all sentiments are subjective, individual, and variable. Even the religious sentiment, the highest and noblest sentiment in man, cannot be trusted, unless enlightened and directed by truth, principle, independent of both the hnman mind and the human heart. Without truth, objective truth-what we call idea or dogma, it be­comes a grovelling superstition, or a wild and destructive fanaticism. Love is one wing of the soul, no doubt; but with one wing alone, the soul does not, cannot soar. It must have two wings, and the other wing is intelligence, which grasps a reality which is not soul, but above soul-God ; and hence the Apostle reproves those who have a zeal for God which is not according to knowledge.

In democracy, as expounded by Locke and Rousseau, and advocated by Jefferson and his school, we do not be­lieve. We have studied philosophy too long for that. De­mocracy is the political expression of the materialistic and sensistic philosophy of the last century, which nobody of any brains pretends now to defend. Liberty we love; the equality of all men as to their natural rights we recognize- hold as a part of our Christian faith. We believe in repub­lican government, in the election by popular suffrage of all rulers and magistrates, and dislike all hereditary monarchy and all hereditary political aristocracies. We are not Jews, but Christians. Judaism rested on natural generation, and, therefore, on the hereditary principle ; Christianity is palingenesiac, and under it all goes by election, the election of grace. Every man's philosophy, religion, and politics should unite in a common principle, and every man's does, if he thinks and is master of his thought. We believe in popular suffrage, and so far accept democracy; but we hold that suffrage is a trust, not an inherent and indefeasible right, and so far we reject democracy. The right to vote, and to be voted for is a trust from civil society, not a natural right inherent in every man by virtue of the fact that he is a man. On this point we disagree with Mr. Phillips and all the disciples of Rousseau; and, disagreeing on this point, we naturally disagree, supposing us equally logical, on all the points growing out of it and dependent on it.

Mr. Phillips is an abolitionist; his one primary object is the abolition of negro-slavery. Slavery is an injustice, and no injustice should be tolerated. The right of the man to his freedom is higher than that of any civil constitution or human enactment to obedience. The right of the slave to his freedom rests on the patent of the Almighty; is incor­porated into the very charter of his existence by his Crea­tor. Any human enactments or civil constitutions that do prive him of that freedom, or prevent me from rushing to emancipate him, are repugnant to the law of God, and may be lawfully resisted or disregarded.    Hence. Mr. Phillips subordinates the Constitution of the United States to eman­cipation, and places the question of emancipation above that of preserving the Union.    If the Union abolishes slavery, he sustains the Union ; if it refuses to do any thing of the sort, then he is for disunion, so as to be able to wash his hands of the sin of slavery.    Now, on this last point, not being a philanthropist, and holding the support of the Constitution as it is, till constitutionally altered, to be a public duty, binding by the law of God on every citizen, I have always held that I must sustain the Union whether it did or not abolish slavery, and seek the abolition of slavery under it, not against it.    My duty to the Constitution, to the Union, to the country, I have always held to be, if the  two came in conflict, paramount to my duty to free the slave.    Here was and is the fundamental difference between me and the abolitionists.    If we must choose between the dissolution of the Union, the loss of our national life, and the con­tinuance of slavery, I choose the latter.    But Mr. Phillips must bear us witness  that the first moment that we were able to demand the abolition of slavery without danger to the Union or lesion to the constitution, I did it, and the echo of my essay on Slavery and  the  War, written in August, 1861, has not yet died away.

We grant slavery is an evil, stn injustice, and that it is a sin to continue it a moment after it is possible to abolish it; that is, possible to abolish it without a greater evil, or a greater injustice. Of two evils choose the less; and unhap­pily in this world, such is the complications of human affairs that often it is not possible to repair one wrong without committing another, and, perhaps, a far greater wrong. I believed slavery, till it rose in rebellion against the Union, a less evil than the dissolution of the Union; and on-the principle that we may not do evil that good may come, I separated from the abolitionists. We did so because we acted from principle, not sentiment, or from sentiment guided by principle; not from impulse, but judgment. Whether we erred in judgment or not is another question, which others may answer or not answer, as they think best. But this much we say, and say cheerfully, that the country owes a deeper debt of gratitude to the Abolitionists than it is prepared to acknowledge, or will be during this eerie-ration. Much in their manner as well as in their principles was offensive ; and their overlooking the claims of patriot­ism, or seeing their country only in the negro, and counting every man their countryman and fellow-citizen who went for abolition, cannot be commended. Nothing did more to excite prejudice against them than their affiliation with English abolitionists, and importing George Thompson to help them abuse their own country and countrymen ; and we regret to see the same gentleman amongst us again, as we regretted Mr. Ward Beecher's mission to England. We are not cosmopolitans; we believe in nationalities, that God for wise purposes has divided mankind into distinct, sepa­rate, and independent nations; and we are so old fashioned as to believe that each nation should manage its own in­ternal affairs for itself. We have not yet accepted the modern doctrine of "the solidarity of peoples;" nor can we even go with our friends of the Tribune for national dis­memberment in Schleswig, which is not and never was any part of the German empire, and against it in our own Southern States. The cause of Denmark in relation to Schleswig, not in relation to Holstein, is the same as our own in relation to the seceded States. We have no acquaint­ance with the Hon. George Thompson; he is no doubt an able, a worthy, and eloquent gentleman, but we are sorry to see him here as an abolition lecturer. We are no be­lievers in English philanthropy, and disclaim all solidarity with it; yet we honor those earnest men and women amongst us who have so long and so perseveringly battled for the slave, amid obloquy and reproach, borne calmly be­ing laughed at, sneered at, persecuted, mobbed, stoned by the Pharisees of the day, and we devoutly hope that the freedom they have so bravely, if not always wisely, battled for, will be obtained and secured.

These remarks define well enough my relation with the abolitionists. It is not a relation of hostility, nor a rela­tion of perfect sympathy and agreement. Yet I have read the speech by Mr. Phillips, which we have cited, with deep and thrilling interest, and wish our worthy President would himself read and ponder it. It is a great speech, and while it indulges the hope that slavery is to end, it elo­quently expresses well grounded apprehensions that the Re­public is in danger, through the readiness of the government, in its haste, to sacrifice the interests and honor of the nation to a sham peace. While we are writing there comes the news of the election of a civil Governor in Louisiana ; and we may before long hear similar news from Arkansas, and from Tennessee, unless the Federal forces are driven out of the latter State before the election can come off. These elections, hailed as triumphs for the Union cause by the journals, we hear of with much misgiving and sadness. They are triumphs only for the vulpecular policy of our accom­plished Secretary of State, by which he seeks to transfer the struggle from the control of Generals to that of politicians and demagogues. We are told General Banks favored the election of Michael Hahn, the successful candidate for Gov­ernor of Louisiana, and that is proof enough that his election is to be regretted by every friend of the Union; for who knows not that Butler was superseded, because he was in earnest to carry out a straight-forward honest anti-slavery policy, and that Banks was appointed because he was an ally or tool of Seward, and would do what man could do to defeat such policy and to save slavery from utter annihilation, at least for a time. So it will be everywhere else. Mr. Phillips is right. There are grounds for serious apprehensions, for matters have gone so far that it is impossible ever to estab­lish the Union in peace and harmony without the immediate and total abolition of slavery throughout the whole United States and the territories thereof, and that will not be done if it is in the power of the Sewards, the Blairs, the Bateses, the Bankses, aided by the weakness, vanity, and timidity, and crotchets of the President, to prevent it.

We believe the President, if emancipated from the influ­ence of the selfish politicians represented by the Sewards, Blairs, & Co., would take and consistently pursue an anti-slavery policy, and would not broach the question, of recon­struction till he had made sure of abolition ; but of such emancipation there is no longer any hope. Perhaps after all, what we wish we shall have to look for from another and an unexpected quarter. Who has not observed of late that a change has come over the Democratic party in Congress and elsewhere ? Do they not say slavery is dead ? and is it not possible that they are shrewd enough to throw the odium with their own friends, of killing it, on the Republican party, and to secure for themselves the honor of burying it, and sav­ing the nation? Democrats love slavery no more than do the Republicans, and are just as willing to get rid of it as Repub­licans are, if they can do so without loss of prestige, or if by doing so they can again govern the Republic. Suppose then, that having discovered that it is political ruin to wed them­selves for better or worse to the cause of slavery, they have resolved or are resolving to avail themselves of the oppor­tunity the indecisive and double faced and no faced policy of the Administration affords them, to take the ground that the abolition of slavery is un fait accompli, plant them­selves on the principle of universal freedom, elect the next President, and the next Congress, and gain to themselves, for their own party, the glory of burying slavery, putting an end to the war, and saving the nation? Why not? They can do it in spite of Seward, Thailow Weed, and the Blairs, if they choose, and who knows that they will not so choose? It is their wisest and best policy, and if they adopt it, they can carry nearly every State and every loyal man in the Union with them. We are not in their secrets, but are very much disposed to believe that their leaders are already meditating something of the sort.

"But they cannot carry the anti-slavery sentiment of the North with them." Be not so sure of that. They could not, if the Republican Administration had not trifled with that sentiment, played fast and loose with it, or if it had fairly accepted it, and proved itself capable of con­ducting the war with spirit, energy, wisdom, and success. Thus far, as a war Administration, as a civil Administration, as an anti-slavery Administration it has been, in public estimation, comparatively at, least, a failure. Suppose then, the Democratic party should take the ground that slavery is dead, that it is no longer in question ; also take high na­tional ground, such as has been taken by General Dix in his letter to certain gentlemen in Wisconsin, and put in nomi­nation a strong man, a man of character, capacity, untainted with Copperheadism, possessing eminent ability, and high moral and civil courage; who doubts they would carry the next election with a rush, redeem their own political character, and gain a lease of power for another half cen­tury ?

Taking the ground we have supposed, and putting up such a man as we have described, not General McClellan, Fernando Wood, or Governor Seymour, from the ranks of their own party, they would have no difficulty in securing the anti-slavery sentiment of the country, for it would have more to hope from them, than from Messrs. Seward & Co., or even Mr. Lincoln himself. We recommend no such policy, for we are not of their party; but were we in the Democratic ranks as we once were, we should recommend it, nay, we would carry it, and believe that we were serving our party and our country in so doing; and even now we care not what party does the right thing, if so be that the right thing is done.

The nation has now the opportunity, without any viola­tion of the Constitution, without any danger to the Union,
nay, as the necessary means of restoring and consolidating
the Union, of emancipating the slaves and putting an end
to slavery ; and it makes itself responsible henceforth for the
sin of slavery, if it does not.   If it did not insist on the absurd
theory that the seceded States are still States in the Union,
it might obtain a constitutional  amendment forever pro­hibiting slavery in the United States and everywhere within
their jurisdiction ; but that is not to be hoped for.  We hear
on every hand that slavery has received its mortal wound,
nay, that slavery is dead; but we do not believe it.    The
Republican party, though opposed to the extension of slavery
into new territory, is not and never professed to be opposed to
the existence of slavery in the States.    There was, no doubt,
a strong anti-slavery element in the party, but it was not,
and is  not the predominant or controlling element.    Mr.
Seward had been looked upon as an anti-slavery man, and
had even been put forward, or had put himself forward as
the representative man of the Republican party, but he was
opposed to slavery only as a political power, and saw no
reason for. being opposed to it at all, when he found his party
in place without being himself President;  and his  whole
study since the election of 1860 has apparently been to
strengthen his party, or himself,  by an alliance with the
slave interest.    Mr. Lincoln was perhaps an anti-slavery
man, but opposed to immediate emancipation, and to eman­cipation at all without colonization, and we are not aware
that he has changed his views in the least since he became
President.    He has from external pressure opposed some
anti-slavery measures, but no one with a good grace,  as
though his heart was in it, and no one that goes far towards
immediately or ultimately extinguishing slavery.    He has
defeated immediate emancipation in Missouri, most likely
in Maryland, carefully protected the slave interest in Ken­tucky, forborne to touch it in Tennessee, and secured to the
anti-Free  State party the electoral victory in Louisiana.
His Emancipation Proclamation we count for nothing.    It
was ostensibly issued on the ground of military necessity, and yet, he waited for military success before issuing it; and though one great purpose of issuing it was to deprive the Rebels of the labor of their slaves, he in the very Proclama­tion itself, advises them to remain and labor for their mas­ters as usual. This looks very little like military necessity. In his Amnesty Proclamation, he consents that the return­ing States should still hold their slaves for a time, as slaves, although he had proclaimed them free, which time he leaves indefinite. In the oath he requires to be taken, the person taking it only swears to sustain his Emancipation Proclama­tion till set aside in the courts or by congress, implying that it can be set aside by either. All he pledges himself to is that he himself will not rescind it. We do not ourselves regard, and we presume he does not himself regard it in law, as worth more than so much waste paper. It was one of his jokes. Anti-slavery men thought they had got something and lauded him to the skies; but they will find that they got only fairy gold, except not being obliged to return as fugitives slaves escaping from States and parts of States in­cluded in the Proclamation. But is a slave escaping from Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, or North Carolina into Tennessee or Kentucky, not liable to be imprisoned as a run­away slave, and after a certain time to be sold into slavery to pay the sheriff's fees and jail expenses? It is well to look at things as well as at words. Our President has the reputation of being a confirmed joker.

We cannot with these facts before us concede that Mr. Lincoln has killed or has any disposition to kill slavery; while his plan of reconstruction is, to our apprehension, expressly devised, if not to perpetuate, at least to prolong its exist­ence. Let half a dozen Southern States return, to the Union, under the President's plan, and slavery will com­mand a working majority in Congress, and may speedily recover from the wounds it has received. The only really anti-slavery measure of much magnitude that has been adopted has been that of arming the negroes. That is a great measure, and may have consequences. All the others are shams, or of little moment. Suppose the patched up State Governments in rebel States even abolish slavery, what then?  It will, when the proper time comes, be the easiest thing in the world to show that those governments and the State organizations under them are illegal, without the slightest constitutional vitality, and that all their acts are null and void from the beginnings; for, be it remembered that the Government not only concedes, but main­tains, that the seceded States are still States in the Union, and therefore any government set up in opposition to them is revolutionary, and to be treated as non avenu. These governments extemporized under military commanders and in presence of Federal bayonets are not States, or State governments, and no court that respects itself will ever pro­nounce them such. It is idle to praise or blame the Admin­istration for pursuing an anti-slavery policy. It has no policy but that which Thurlow Weed had in anti-masonic times, in making the body of Timothy Monroe look that of Morgan. "But it is not the body of Morgan."  "No matter, it is a good enough Morgan till after election."

But this is not the point we intended to discuss when we commenced. Mr. Phillips, and he is a better judge on that question than we are, thinks, after all, that slave­ry is as good as dead, and that the measures of the Administration will result in its abolition. Perhaps he is right in assuming that slavery is virtually dead, though not in supposing that the measures of the Administration have killed it, but that public opinion, coming round so rapidly and so fully to the conviction that the Union can­not be restored, and peace obtained without getting rid of slavery, it cannot be permitted to survive. Slavery has made us trouble enough, and now our hands are in, let us make an end of it. Such we believe is or is every day becom­ing the general conviction. This is pretty sure to compel the Administration to adopt measures that will kill it, or if not, compel it to give way for another administration that will. But this is not enough for Mr. Phillips, and he has given us fair warning that he will not be satisfied, unless the negro is not only emancipated, but clothed with the elective franchise, placed on a footing of perfect political and social equality with the white man. The negro is a man; he has the rights natural and common to all men, and what right have you to make any political or civil dis­tinction between him and the white man ? It is little you do for the negro in declaring him free. You must go fur­ther, and give him the right to vote, so that he may be able to protect his freedom. It is his right. Nay, you must go further still, and cut up. the large estates at the South, and give him a farm, so that he may have a home and wherewith to support himself and little ones. So under Abolition lie concealed agrarianism and negro equality. Let philanthropy once get astride her hobby, and she is sure never to stop till she has ridden it into the ground.

We think the abolitionists might be satisfied with the abo­lition of slavery, and the recognition of the equal rights of the negro as a man. That is further than any portion of the human race ever yet advanced at a single stride. It is, at least, sufficient for one instalment; for, after all, the negro is not the only man in existence. The white man is a man, and has the rights of a man, and in our worship of the negro we cannot prudently leave him out of the ac­count. He is not very patient nor very fond of Cuffey, and if you undertake to do more than he thinks is about right, he will be very likely to break Cuffey's head, hard as it is, and exterminate the whole negro population of the country. You may induce him to consent to let the negro be free, but if you undertake to incorporate him to political society, and make him an equal member of the civil com­munity with himself, he will revolt and insist on remanding Cuffey to slavery, sending him out of the country, or cut­ting his throat. There are rough customers both North and South, both East and West, who have no special love for the negro, and who will never willingly meet him any­where on terms of equality. You may philosophize, philan­thropize, sentimentalize, moralize, and sermonize as much as you will, ,but you will never make the mass of the white people look upon the blacks as their equals. Attempt to force them to do it, and you will raise an Anglo-Saxon devil, that you will not be able to exorcise.

We may talk as we will, spin any fine theories we like, praise the negro as we please, and sneer at the boasting Caucasian to our heart's content, but we cannot alter the fact of negro inferiority, or make it not a fact that the negro is the most degenerate branch of our race. This is no reason why we should enslave him, oppress him, throw obstacles in his way, but it is a reason why we should not seek to form one community with him, or seek to mould blacks and whites into one people. The basis, under God, of society, is family, and the basis of family is marriage, and where there are classes between whom intermarriage is inadmissible or improper, they do not and cannot form one common society. Society proper did not exist in the middle ages between the nobility and the serfs, for they did not in­termarry. It exists now in France, Italy, and Great Brit­ain, to some extent, because intermarriage between the nobles and commons has ceased to be infrequent. Between blacks and whites marriage is anomalous and never desirable. Both races suffer by it, because the distance between them is too great to be leaped by a single bound. The mulatto is intellectually inferior to the white man, and as an animal, inferior to the black man. All observation proves that the mixed breed is shorter lived and less pro­lific than either parent stock. Mixed breeds even in animals, without frequent new crossings, soon run out. One or the other race gets the upper hand, and eliminates the other, as English agriculturists and stock farmers know very well. Whites with abnormal tastes may now and then marry a black, but as a rule, both blacks and whites prefer to marry each with their own color. Even if they inhabit the same country, the blacks and the whites are, and will be too diverse to constitute really one people, one society. We are not, therefore, in favor of placing them on a footing of even political equality. In the Northern States, where there is but a small negro population, the right of suffrage can be extended to them without any serious disadvantage to them, or exciting much hostility or prejudice against them; but in the Southern States, where " the negro vote " would be large and able to decide the election, the ease would be quite different, and the whites would not and could not be made to submit to negro suf­frage, far less to negro eligibility. The experiment we fear would result in no benefit, but in grave injury to the ne­gro population. We remember when a negro was elected a member of the House of Representatives of Massachusetts, and the indignation that was felt even in that anti-slavery and negro-loving State at his taking his seat. He did not occupy it long.

"But do you not wish to elevate the negro ?" My dear madam, I am getting to be an old man, and don't believe much in elevating negroes or any other class of men. We are for knocking off the fetters of the slave, recognizing the negro as a man, but not for elevating the negro to the level of the white man, any more than we are for lowering the white man to the level of the negro. We would leave the negro free to raise himself to equality with the white man, and above him, if able, but we have never discovered that we did any man, black or white, any good by elevating him above his natural level. Our ro­mance, my dear madam, has fled with our once dark, thick, glossy locks, and remains not with our dimmed eye and white hair. We talk no more of elevating the laboring classes, and we believe it would be a great deal better for our country, if we had a much larger class inured to toil, contented to remain an honest laboring class through life, and to earn and eat their bread in the sweat of their faces. All cannot stand at the top of society, for if all were at the top there would be no bottom, and society would be the bottomless pit. The merit of the negro is that as a rule he is not remarkably anxious to accumulate, or over ambitious of rank or place for which he is not fitted. Give him the right of suffrage and eligibility, and make him feel that he may indulge political ambition, and you destroy the sim­plicity and charm of his character, wake up in him all the base passions of the white man, and make him as restless, as discontented, and as great a nuisance as a Yankee pedlar or speculator. We do not believe that the poorer class even of white men have gained any thing by being entrusted with suffrage and eligibility. They vote as hon­estly and as intelligently as the easier classes, but their votes avail them little. All is not gold that glistens. There is much philanthropy, madam, that overshoots itself, and aggravates the evils it would cure.

" But it is the negro's right." I am not sure of that, sir. The negro has the right to himself, his wife and children, to the free use of his limbs, to his savings, his earnings, to the property he honestly acquires or inherits, the same as you or I. He has the same right to be protected by civil society in his natural rights, his rights of person and prop­erty, for he is a man, a free man, and so far the law should recognize no distinction based on color; but when it comes to political rights the case changes. All men are equal before the law, but not therefore does it follow that all men have an equal right to a voice in making or in say­ing who shall make the laws. I told you, sir, that I am no disciple of Jean Jacques Rousseau. The right of suffrage is not one of our natural, inherent, and inalienable rights, like the right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Suffrage confers political power, makes him who possesses it, in a certain sense, a governor, and we cannot concede that any man has a natural right to govern; no, not the king of Prussia, or even the Turkish Sultan. We do not believe in governors, who govern by a natural, inherent, and indefea­sible right.. All power is a trust, and is amissable. Civil society does not simply regulate, it confers the right of suf­frage,-trusts whom with it she judges it proper, or most ex­pedient. We told you that we believed in election. If the voters elect the rulers and magistrates, society in her own way elects the voters. There is on this point no higher law than that of society, in the exercise of its highest pre­rogative. So do not talk to me about the right of the negro to be a voter. When and where civil society has invested him with that right he has it, and you and I are bound to respect; but only then and there.

" But he needs it to protect himself against the overbear­ing insolence and oppression of white men in general, and his former master in particular. With a vote in his hand, he can bid the oppressor defiance." I beg your pardon. I do not believe quite so much in votes as you do, my democratic friend. In my youth I listened to all these fine theories and said myself some fine things, about the power of the ballot-box. Don't insist upon my believing them now. Many of the things you say, I seem to have heard centuries ago, and it is hard, to persuade myself that they are uttered by a liv­ing voice to-day in my ears. Is it that our friends have for these many years been asleep, or that I have for the last twenty years been living in quite another world from that in which they have been living and moving? I did not ex­pect to hear a live man of to-day pretending that the vote of a poor man, and that man a poor black man, could afford him any protection, save on election days. His vote may be worth something to you if you are a candidate for office, but precious little to himself. We talk of independent vo­ters. What independence! I had to vote in 1860 for Abra­ham Lincoln, for Fusion, or throw my vote away. This was all the independence and freedom of choice I had. We manage our elections better than by encouraging or permitting independent voting. Ordinarily, the managers have got the question narrowed to a simple question between your party and mine. I must vote for my party, and you for yours, or else each of us be branded a renegade; and to vote for one's party means to vote for its candidates, very like­ly about as scaly a set or at least as incompetent a set of scape­graces as can be selected. They are selected on the princi­ple of availability, and the more worthless the candidate, usually the more available he is. This city has Judges of a high court, and Representatives in Congress, that I would on no account shake hands with, or invite to a seat in my parlor, poor as it is. We cannot understand, then, what pro­tection his vote will give the freedman, for we may he sure that he will not be one of the wire pullers or party managers, and of the candidates presented, it does not matter him a groat which is elected or which defeated. Do not suppose for a mo­ment, sir, that I would, if I could, abolish or restrict suffrage. "It is often," says the sage Dr. Johnson, "misery to lose what it is no happiness to possess." I do not believe that suffrage is an adequate protection, or much of a protection at all, to a poor man, black or white, but I would not take it away from any one who has it, any more than I would a toy from my child. We need through every period of life our playthings, whether as individuals or as nations. Suffrage to those who, aside from their social position, intel­ligence, profession, wealth, or personal character, have no means of asserting their independence, can afford little or no protection; but it may serve to amuse them, and when they are not all on one side, led on by a few adroit, able, but unscrupulous demagogues, it can do no great harm. So, sir, let suffrage and eligibility remain as they are, and for what they are worth. The objection is not that the poorer and less educated ciasses make a bad use of suffrage, but that the wealthier and better educated classes make a bad use of them. They are not the poor who bribe the poor; it is quite another class who do it-they who have plans for robbing the Treasury, or compelling the Govern­ment to countenance their swindles, or to aid them in their speculations.

Now, my dear friend, let me not shock you, but I do not believe your poor, ignorant, and inexperienced negroes, whose religion is for the most part mere sensibility or animal excitement, and whose moral habits are those of lying, stealing, and cheating on a small scale, are better than white men of a corresponding class, or any less likely to be used by wily and unprincipled demagogues. The gentleness, docility, and even affectionateness, you admire so much in them, are due in the main to the dependent condition in which they have lived, to their habits of deferring to supe­riors, and consulting only the will of their master or mis­tress. Free them, give them votes, and put them on the footing of political equality with their former masters, and these amiable qualities, these virtues, if you please, will dis­appear, and your beloved negroes will become vain, proud, insolent, overbearing, and exhibit the usual vices and man ners of freedmen. They are nothing without leaders, and at present their leaders are their preachers ; and the dema­gogues have only to gain their preachers to gain them. These preachers, for the most part themselves very ig­norant and vain, can be bought, wheedled or de­ceived, and gained over to the support of measures any thing but advantageous to their own people. Hence, your "negro vote" will only go to swell the ever-rising tide of political corruption. Do not, my dear sir, flatter your­self that, because negroes have been oppressed, they are all saints, or that because they have been more wronged and degraded, they are more conscientious, more self-reliant, or personally firm and independent, more proof against temp­tation, or less corruptible than white men of the lower class. You, my dear madam, having made the negro for a long time your pet, and defended him against wrong, abuse, and contempt, have, woman like, come to regard him as fault­less. I will not undertake to reason you out of your per­suasion, for you would be very sorry to lose it; but he will set you right at the first opportunity.

Seriously, then, we honestly believe that you are doing the negro great harm by your proposal to elevate him above his sphere, and to do for him what no man or society can successfully do for any one. Already have you done him harm by placing him on a footing of equality in the army with white soldiers, and insisting that no distinction shall be made between him and them as to pay and boun­ties. Some time since, I received a memorial to Congress, for me to sign, praying Congress to make the pay and bounties of negro soldiers the same with that of white soldiers. I threw it into the waste basket. With all deference to the negro-lovers, we do not believe black soldiers are worth as much as white soldiers, and ten dollars a month and emancipation pay them even better than white soldiers are paid. The negro and everybody else would have been satisfied, if nobody had had a pet theory to be crammed down our throats against the stomach of our sense-that of negro equality. Philanthropy shrieked at the cruel injustice of giv­ing a white man a few cents a day more than was paid to a black man, as if it were an unheard of thing in armies, to make a distinction in the pay of different classes of troops. There is no tyranny so relentless or so universal as that of passion or sentiment, and the better the sentiment or the nobler the passion the more galling and universal the tyranny . A theory based on sentiment instead of reason is the grave of all freedom, and hence it often, nay, usually hap­pens, that those who vociferate loudest in the name of liberty are the greatest despots in power. Does not the world agree to call the reign of Liberty, Equality, Brotherhood, in France, the Reign of Terror? The Lord save us from men whose sentiments frame their theories, and whose rea­son is used only to enable their passions to grasp their vic­tims? Half truths are worse than whole falsehoods, and the best sentiments of our nature, when perverted, are more destructive than the worst. Men will commit infinitely great­er iniquity in the name of liberty than they dare commit in the name of tyranny; in the name of justice than in the name of injustice. The great crime of the world is igno­rance, and hence all the great theologians make ignorance the origin of sin. Under, this pet theory of negro equal­ity, a perversion, as understood and applied, of the Christian dogma of the unity of the race, no discrimination is al­lowed, but every thing is brought to its Procrustean bed. The government has no freedom of administration, individuals no freedom, of action, justice itself no free course, and common sense is cast to the dogs. Pardon me, my dear madam, you know I have the misfortune not to be a phi­lanthropist, and while I say chacun a son gout, I add in plain English, to each one according to his works, and of those works the supreme authority of the state is in relation to suffrage the supreme judge.

But while we protest against many of the positions taken by Mr. Phillips, we do not oppose, absolutely, the recogni­tion of negro equality before the law. The Government has gone so far that to be consistent it must go farther. The General Government having enrolled the negroes, and placed them in its army on a footing of equality with white sol­diers, and allowed them to mingle mutually their blood on the battle-field in defence of the country, has naturalized and nationalized the negro. We opposed, till opposition was useless, making negroes soldiers. We took the ground that this is the white man's country, and the white man should defend it. But the Government has overruled us, wisely or unwisely it is needless to inquire or to say. It is enough that it has done so. The negro, having shed his blood in defence of the country, has the right to regard it as his country. And hence deportation or forced colonization is henceforth out of the question. The negro here is as much in his own country as we are in ours, and the Government is bound to protect him as much as it is us in the right of domicile, and in the inalienable right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Having placed the two classes in the army on a footing of equality it is but a step to do so in the state, at least so far as depends on the General Government. If the special friends of the negro demand it, we certainly will not oppose them, though what they demand we think will in the end turn out an injury rather than a benefit to their proteges.

We are the more ready to yield this point, because we foresee very clearly and distinctly, if we get abolition with­out equality, we have not got rid of the everlasting negro question.    The abolitionists have been agitating the whole country for over thirty years, for abolition, and Mr. Phillips's speech assures us that the same party are prepared to agitate thirty years longer, if need be, for negro suffrage, or negro political equality ; and, with the democratic notions generally adopted by our countrymen, they will be able to agitate with effect.    We are growing old and irritable; we dislike agitation, indeed never liked it; and we think, since we have gone so far, in order to avoid greater evil and have done with the negro, it may be the wisest and safest plan for the General Government to abolish within its jurisdiction all distinctions founded on color, and, so far as it is concerned, to give the negro a chance to  compete successfully with the white  man, if he  can.  We say, therefore, let  the General Government, within its jurisdiction,  recognize all persons as equal before the law.    If this should make negroes and white men equal before civil society, it would not necessarily make them equal in their domestic and social relations, with which the Government has and ought to have no right to interfere.    The negro may accompany me to the polls and vote, but I will not be obliged to ask him to visit me, to open my drawing-room to him, or to give his son my daughter in marriage.     The chief evil of this will be in the fact that the negro or colored population will con­stitute a distinct or separate class in the community, that will vote collectively rather than individually, even more so than do the Irish or the  Germans.    This will be an evil, a permanent  evil of no   small  magnitude,   not  a  mere temporary evil,  as in the case of naturalized citizens of our own race, who, after a  generation   or two, become absorbed in the  general   population.     But,  I   suppose we can put up with it and contrive, in some way, to sur­vive it.

But we confine negro equality within the jurisdiction of the General Government, which extends only to the Federal Courts and Territories not yet admitted into the Union, be­cause the States, each in its own limits, have the exclusive right of settling the question for themselves.   The State, not Congress, under our system, says who may or may not be entrusted with the elective franchise.   The General Government, in an enabling Act, may indeed define the qualification of voters in the first election under it, but the State in fram­ing its constitution is not governed by the definitions or pre­scriptions of Congress, and fixes itself the qualification of voters, as it sees fit.    It may exclude or include negroes as it judges best, and the General Government has no right to intervene  one way or another, even  as  to the election of President and Vice-President of the United States or Mem­bers of Congress.    The State fixes the qualification of vo­ters for Members of the General Government as well as of its own, subject only to the constitutional provision that voters in Presidential and Congressional elections shall be the persons qualified to vote for members of the most nu­merous branch of the State legislature.     If the Govern­ment had declared the seceded States no longer States in the Union, Congress could have authorized negroes to vote for delegates to a convention for organizing the State or framing a State constitution, and on the question of accept­ing or rejecting the constitution proposed by the convention, but there Its jurisdiction ends.     Having, however, fallen into the absurdity of treating these States as still States in the Union, the question of negro suffrage lies beyond its ju­risdiction, and is solely a State question.    We have never been willing to change the Constitution for the sake of the negro, and we are not now.    The preservation of the States in all the constitutional rights they now have is as necessary to the preservation and free working of our political sys­tem as the preservation of the General Government in all its constitutional rights and powers.    Beyond the line we have designated, the question of negro suffrage or negro equality is one for the States themselves, for it comes under the rights of peace, not under the rights of war.   The rights of war authorize the Government to do whatever is neces­sary to put down the Rebellion, and secure peace; but they do not authorize it to subvert or change the Constitution, General or State. It may, as a military necessity, declare martial law and suspend for a time the local civil authori­ties; but, the necessity passed, they revive, ipso facto, and resume their functions, as if there had been no suspension or no martial law declared. All that the General Govern­ment can do in the subject is, then, very little, and not worth quarrelling about.

The States can do as they please about negro suffrage.    We should be glad to stop all agitation on the subject, but we are not willing to see the General Government attempt to force, without law, negro suffrage upon States opposed to it. That would be a greater evil than abolition agitation itself; nor is it desirable to change the Constitution, even if it were possible, as it is not, so as to prohibit the States from ever making any distinction between its inhabitants based on color.    There   are  some things  government can   do, and some things the strongest and most absolute government cannot do.    We cannot urge upon the States the adoption of negro suffrage, because it is, out of our own State, none of our business.    We honor the Old Bay State, and we like many, very many, of the traits of the New England people, but not Massachusetts, nor yet all New England, is the whole Union, and we do not know that if we could, we would Yankeeize the whole nation.    We are not fighting in this war for Massachusetts ideas any more than we are for New York ideas, Pennsylvania ideas, or Western ideas.    It is as much to us what Illinois or Indiana thinks, as it is what Massachusetts thinks.    We live in New Jersey, and are a Jerseyman.    If the several States are willing to adopt negro suffrage, we shall not object, and if any of them refuse, we shall not abuse them, or agitate to make them change their mind.    We are willing, in view of the circumstances, that the General Government should, within its jurisdiction, abolish all distinction founded on color.   We wish the several States, as a means of forestalling agitation, would do the same, providing they do it voluntarily, of their own accord, without any attempt to compel them to do it by external pressure. If forced to do it, especially the Southern and Southwestern States, they would make short work with the negro.    Some States have adopted negro suffrage, others will, if let alone, perhaps all will in time.    So much we say, lest we should be understood as conceding more than we mean.

As to cutting up the large estates of the planters, and dividing them among the negroes, the agrarian feature of the plan, rather whispered than strongly urged, and yet to some extent favored by the government operations in South Carolina, we remark that, "to cook a hare, first catch a hare."    We have not got the great planting States in our possession yet, and shall not get them without much more hard fighting, even if then.    Every military movement this spring, thus far, has proved a failure, and appearances now are that we are to have a most unsuccessful spring campaign. We hope it will turn out otherwise, but we have serious mis­givings.    The best generals and the best army in the world cannot carry on a successful campaign with an inefficient or uncertain civil administration.    But, however this may be, we are not in favor of cutting up the large estates either North or South, Governor Aikin's no more than General Wadsworth's, and are not at all disposed to give negroes farms or homesteads.    If the negroes can earn farms or homesteads, or the means to buy them in the market, we are quite willing that they should have the opportunity, and the same protection for their property, when they have acquired it, that white men have.   We have no liking for what is called the Homestead Law, and never advocated it, for we never like any law which is enacted for another pur­pose than that which appears on its face.  We like no underhand measures.    The Homestead Law was intended to operate as an anti-slavery measure, by parcelling out the public lands among small white farmers, who would culti­vate them with their own hands-a democratic policy, if you will, but illusory.    For our part, we frankly own, that we are in favor of large estates, of heavy landholders, as an offset to manufacturers and merchants, or what we call business capital and urban wealth.    You will need them yet, when you find yourselves in a death struggle with the huge corporations and mammoth monopolies with which you have covered over the whole land.   Yet, if the negroes emi­grate and settle on the public lands, give them the same rights and advantages you give white men, but no more; and if, as you pretend, they are equal or superior to white men, they need no more.    We protest, however, against creating a privileged class, even though that privileged class should be negroes.

Under existing circumstances, and for reasons that we have assigned, and with the reservations we have made, we believe it wisest and best for the country and the Government, Gen­eral or State, to prohibit slavery, to recognize the equality of all men before the law, and make no legal distinction founded simply on color. Let the negro have a fair chance, and compete successfully with the white man, if he can. We see no other prudent course now possible. We do not believe him able to compete successfully with the white man, and if we were the special friends of the negro, and anxious to preserve the negro race in our country, we should be very unwilling to expose him to what we regard as so un­equal a competition; but as we seek even abolition in the interest of the whites rather than in that of the blacks, and as we believe the gradual extinction of barbarous and in­ferior races, when they cannot be or ought not to be ab­sorbed by the superior race, is no loss to humanity or civili­zation, but a gain, we are willing that he should be ex­posed to it, if those who claim to be his especial friends and to have charge of his interests insist upon it. We do not be­lieve the colored races can, starting with equal chances, maintain equality on the same soil with the white race. Slavery abolished, they will soon be crowded out of the Southern States as laborers, by the heavy emigration from the Northern States and from Europe pouring in. They will live in little huts, cultivate a small patch of ground, and eke out a scanty and precarious subsistence, for a time, by fish­ing, hunting, trapping, and pilfering. Some will enter the ranks of the army, some the navy; others will drift away to Central America, to Hayti, to the British West India Islands, or to the South American Continent. Hemmed in or crowded out by an ever advancing tide of white popula­tion, more vigorous, more energetic, and more enterprising, their numbers will diminish day by day, and gradually the great mass of them will have disappeared, nobody can tell when, where, or how. It will take several generations, per­haps centuries, to complete the process of elimination, but the process is sure to go on till consummated.

Could we have had our way, and had we wished to pre­serve the negro race in the United States, we would never have emancipated the slaves; we would have changed the form and condition of their servitude, and converted them from chattels into adscripti glebae, or serfs. We would not have made them freemen, but we would have made them in law persons, have recognized for them the sanc­tity of marriage, family, and domicile, have secured them their moral and religious freedom, but not have released them from their obligation of bodily labor. But we could  not have our way, we  could not try the efficacy of  our "Morrison Pill," for the South  would not have consented  to  it,  and  we could  not  reach  the slaves at all except under the rights of war, and these rights know nothing of any emancipation, but immediate emancipa­tion.    Moreover, we had, and have no wish to preserve, here or elsewhere, the negro race.    Do not be shocked, rny dear madam, you know I am no philanthropist, and you must expect me to speak as a reasonable man, who respects things, not fine phrases.    I would not wrong a negro any quicker than a white man.    I would deal out to him and his far off cousin, the American Indian, the same even handed justice, and discharge towards either, promptly and cheer­fully, all the claims of humanity and Christian charity; yet I own that I should joy rather than weep to see both races disappear from our continent, if they should disappear with­out any wrong or injustice on the part of our own race.   Let the disappearance be by the operation of a law of Providence, not by human wrong and oppression, and we shall have no tears to shed over it.    We respect the amiable feeling which sympathizes with the inferior races, and dreams of their elevation, but, although I have a mellow spot in my heart, as well as you, my dear madam, in yours, I do not yield to it, for I never allow myself knowingly to attempt the impossible, or to war against the inevitable.   I cannot make " a silk purse out of a sow's ear."    The inferior races had the same origin that you and I had, but they are inferior, because they have, with or without their fault, degenerated farther from the normal type of the human race than we have.    Pray, do not doubt, whatever you think of me, that you, with your tall queenly figure, your graceful walk, your Grecian face, your sparkling eyes, bright golden hair, and bewitching smile, approach nearer to our common mother Eve, than that black, greasy, thick-lipped, flat-nosed, woolly-headed, tub-figured, and splay-footed Dinah.   Treat Dinah kindly, speak gently to her, don't despise her, don't turn away disdainfully from her, for she, too, is a daughter of Eve, a creature of God, and has both a heart and soul; but don't ask me to regard her as the type of womankind, and yourself as the one who has departed from it.

The inferior races, the yellow, the red, or the black, nearly all savage, barbarous, or semi-barbarous, are not, my dear sir, types of the primitive man, or so many stages in, man's progressive march from the tadpole, chimpanzee, or gorilla, up to Bacon, Newton, Napoleon Bonaparte, George B. McClellan, and you and me. They mark rather bo many stages or degrees in human degeneracy. The African negro is not the primitive man, the man not yet developed, the incipient Caucasian, but the degenerate man, who, through causes which neither you nor I can explain, has fallen below the normal human type, and stands now at the lowest round in the descending scale of human degeneracy, and for him, save by the transfusion of the blood of a less degenerated variety, there is no more development. He has ceased to be progressive, and when a race has ceased to be progressive, nothing remains for it but to die. Get a deeper philosophy, my friend, and read history anew. Why is it that you can rarely get a negro to embrace any thing of Christianity but its animality, if I may so speak, or its exterior forms, and that after generations of Christian wor­ship and instruction, he falls back to the worship of Obi ? Why is it that you can scarcely get a single Christian, thought into the negro's head, and that with him religion is almost sure to lapse into a grovelling superstition ? Why, because he is a degenerate man, and superstition is degen­erate religion, and the religion of the degenerate.

Well, my dear friends, I have said my word. An honest, conscientious, outspoken word it is, too, and wiser than you believe; but you will not like it, nobody will like it, be­cause it is not sophistical, flatters no one's prejudices, fa­vors no one's crotchets, helps on no one's party. My word will return to me without an echo. Well, be it so. If a true word it will not die. If fitted to the times, and the times will not hear it, so much the worse for the times, and for those whose duty it is to manage them and shape things to bring about better times. I like, my dear abolitionist, your earnestness, your intensity, your resoluteness, your in­vincible energy, and wish I could find as much elsewhere in loyal ranks ; but not being able to do so, I tell you, either the Federal arms will fail to crush the Rebellion, or you will succeed alike with your good and your bad. Life is stronger than death, and you represent the only living body just now in the loyal States, and Wendell Phillips is bound to carry it over William H. Seward. So much we see; and forced to a choice between the two, we prefer Phillips, for "a living dog is better than a dead lion."