Rare Book Monthly

Articles - April - 2003 Issue

Slavery in the United States <br> Chapter 3



By J. K. Paulding
Published in New York in 1836


Of Emancipation and its Consequences, admitting its practicability

2,674 words

THE emancipation of the slaves of the United States can only proceed from three causes. It must be the voluntary, or involuntary act of their owners, or the work of the slaves themselves. In the first case, it will result from a sense of duty or a conviction of its expediency; in the second, from coercive legislation; in the third, from conspiracy, insurrection, and servile war.

Is it within the widest limits of a rational probability, that millions of men, constituting entire independent states, so far as respects this question, will be wrought upon by such a course of false and irritating calumnies as the abolitionists are daily bringing to bear upon them, voluntarily, and all at once to divest themselves of a large portion of their property, and that which gives value to all the rest, on the ground of an abstract principle, which they never acknowledged? Does the history of mankind present a single instance of such a miracle being worked by such means and such instruments? There is no such example, nor will there ever be until human nature undergoes a radical and complete revolution.

The emancipation of the slaves in the middle states was gradual and progressive; they possessed comparatively few, and their services were not indispensably necessary to domestic offices, or the cultivation of the land. The sacrifice was nothing compared with that demanded of the southern states. It was tacitly assented to, simply because it was not thought worth while to organize an opposition. Few possessed slaves; and these few were overawed by the many. By the former it was submitted to, rather than approved.

It is believed that slavery has been abolished in one, perhaps more, of the states of South America. But this was a revolutionary act. A very large portion of the owners of slaves were of the class which opposed the establishment of independence, whose persons were exiled and outlawed, whose lives forfeited, and whose property was confiscated. The sacrifice was demanded of the enemies of the state, of proscribed exiles, not fellow-citizens and brothers. It was an act of policy or vengeance rather than of humanity.

The late conduct of the British authorities in relation to the slaves of the colonies, which is held up by themselves and their followers in this country as an object of imitation, belongs to that species of philanthropy which is exercised solely at the expense of others. The people of England gave away nothing; they merely submitted to a small addition to a debt which will never be paid. The government of England gave nothing but the money of the people, of which it has never been at all chary. Neither Sir Robert Peel, Mr. Buxton, nor, in all probability, a single one of the noble lords and honourable gentlemen who voted for emancipating the slaves of the British colonies, sacrificed a single comfort or luxury at the shrine of philanthropy; and as to Mr. O'Connell, we have not heard that he relinquished a penny of the "tribute of gratitude," amounting to some 20,000 [pounds] sterling a year, paid by his suffering but generous countrymen to keep his patriotism from falling a victim to ministerial seduction, as that of so many Irish "liberators" has done before him. It has been hinted to us by persons well acquainted with the state of parties in England, that the members of parliament constituting what is called the "evangelicals" hold the balance of power between the "reformers" and "conservatives," and hence probably arises the zeal of the liberator in behalf of the slaves of the United States, who are the favourite, if not exclusive objects of evangelical philanthropy. It is also whispered that the piety as well as humanity of more than one of the most stanch ministerial advocates of universal emancipation, is somewhat political. In such a contest, the great struggle generally is which party shall make the most noise, and all experience demonstrates that the victory is nine times in ten achieved by that which is least sincere.

Be this as it may, on pretence of establishing the rights of one colour, the government of England infringed grossly upon the established rights of another, and committed a robbery under cover of humanity. It outraged its own laws and constitution by an invasion of property guarantied by both, and attempted to cheat the world of its admiration, by an unwarrantable exercise of power over those who were unable to resist. To cover its injustice, it only robbed them of two thirds of their property, and paid for the remainder according to its own estimate, without consulting those whom it plundered under the benignest auspices of philanthropy. The act has no affinity with benevolence, because it is founded in gross injustice, and is equally devoid of disinterestedness as magnanimity, since it was performed at the expense of the colonies, in fact, and was a triumph over weakness. It is still, however, liable to the reproaches of the abolitionists, for it falls far short of their own avowed principles. It was not instantaneous, but prospective emancipation; nor did it apparently contemplate amalgamation, as one of its direct and immediate consequences.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Jenner (Rev. George Charles). <i>The Evidence at Large...Respecting Dr Jenner's Discovery of Vaccine Inoculation,</i> presentation copy from Edward Jenner to Rev. Rowland Hill, 1805. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Houdini (Harry).- Maggi (Girolamo). <i>De tintinnabulis liber postumus...de equuleo liber,</i> Harry Houdini's copy, Amsterdam, H. Wetstein, 1689. £600 to £800
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Meyer (Henry Leonard). Coloured Illustrations of British Birds, and their Eggs , 7 vol. in 2 plus Illustrations of British Birds, 4 vol., 1842-50 and [1835-51]. £5,000 to £7,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Dickens (Charles). <i>An Entirely New Romantic Drama, in Three Acts, by Mr. Wilkie Collins, called The Frozen Deep,</i> 1857. £3,000 to £4,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Lighthouses and Islands of Ireland, c. 125 drawings, 1867. £6,000 to £8,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Shelley (Lady Jane). Diary, 1853 & 1860. £1,500 to £2,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Scottish Binding.- The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments, bound in contemporary brown polished calf decorated with the figure of a Chinese spearman, by ?James Scott of Edinburgh, 1778. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Greene (Graham). <i>The Man Within,</i> first edition, signed by the author, 1929. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Mellan (Claude, 1598-1688). The Holy Face, or the Veil of St Veronica, [c. 1649 and later]. £800 to £1,200
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Desaguliers (John Theophilus). <i>A Dissertation concerning Electricity,</i> W. Innys, and T. Longman, 1742. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Le Jeune (Paul). <i>Relation de se qui s'est passé en la Nouvelle France en l'anné 1636 enuoyée au R.Pere Provincial de la Compagnie de Iesus en la Province de France,</i> 1637. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Stumpf (Johann Rudolph). <i>Gemeiner loblicher Eydgnoschafft Stetten, Landen und Völckern Chronicwirdiger thaaten beschreibung, </i> Zurich, Froschauer, 1586. £3,000 to £4,000
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> George Washington, Letter Signed to General James Clinton, preparing for the Sullivan-Clinton Campaign, 1778. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Thomas Jefferson, Letter Signed, to Major-General Nathanael Greene, promising to send reinforcements against Cornwallis, 1781. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Thomas Edison, Autograph Letter Signed, to Western Union President William Orton, 1878. $10,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> William, Bishop of Coventry, vellum charter granting the church of Rochdale to the Cistercian Abbey of Stanlaw, in Latin, 1222. $3,500 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> FDR, Photograph Signed & Inscribed, framed with wood removed from the White House roof, 1927. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Jean Dubuffet, archive including many letters written while painting in NYC, 1951-72. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Mohandas K. Gandhi, Autograph Letter Signed, describing the source of his patience, 1939. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Lithograph portrait of Albert Einstein by Hermann Struck, signed by both, 1923. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Charles The Bold, Duke of Burgundy, Letter Signed to Johann IV of Nassau, in French, 1470. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Jean Cocteau, Autograph Letter Signed, in French, 1919. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Louis Armstrong, two Autograph Letters Signed to Erich Kauffmann, his lip salve purveyor, 1965-70. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Wernher von Braun, Autograph Letter Signed to Jonathan Cross, 1975. $5,000 to $7,500.
  • <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> BEETHOVEN, LUDWIG VAN. Autograph Manuscript sketch-leaf part of the score of the Scottish Songs, "Sunset" Op. 108 no 2. [Vienna, February 1818]. Inscribed by Alexander Wheelock Thayer. $80,000 to $120,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. $100,000 to $150,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> EINSTEIN, ALBERT. Autograph Letter Signed ("Papa") to his son Hans Albert, discussing his involvement with the atomic bomb, September 2, 1945. $100,000 to $150,000
    <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> HAMILTON, ALEXANDER. Autograph Letter Signed, to Baron von Steuben, with extensive notes of Von Steuben's aide Benjamin Walker, June 12, 1780. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. $200,000 to 300,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. $80,000 to $120,000
  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
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    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>

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