"The foundations of our new Government are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that Slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and moral condition. This, our new Government, is the first in the history of the world based upon this great physical, philosophical and moral truth."
And again:
"The delusion of the equality of races cannot be traced in any of the component parts of the Southern Constitution. In that instrument we solemnly discard the pestilent heresy of fancy politicians that all men of all races are equal, and make African inequality and the equality of white men the chief corner-stone of the Southern Republic. With a Government so founded, the world has yet to see in us the model nation of history."
Putting aside all considerations of justice or morality -- which it is hardly permitted seriously to take into account in such an argument -- it must be confessed there attaches a certain theoretical interest to this new doctrine of the social compact. For the first time in the history of human societies, a nation's existence is made to turn on the pivot of an ethnological hypothesis.
For it is not even pretended by Mr. STEPHENS that Slavery under all conditions is right: indeed, he expressly affirms that Slavery in the antique nations, among whom the bondsmen were of the same race as the masters, was "in violation of Nature's laws, and wrong." It is not Slavery, therefore, but negro Slavery which is right. Negroes should be enslaved because they are of a different species from white men: in fact, the whole question is removed to the domain of zoology -- a new and very remarkable position. But it is precisely here, when we have rooted and grounded our system in the surest scientific principles, that the damning facts arise. A very large portion of the Southern slaves do not belong to the negro as much as to the white race. Vast numbers of them are mulattoes. A very large number are quadroons, sprung not merely from white fathers, but from several generations of white forefathers. It is obvious that the child of a white parent and a black one appertains as much to the one stock as to the other; and in the case of quadroons and octoroons the amount of negro blood has been halved and halved again, until at last the slave is incomparably more Caucasian than African. Now, if the enslavement of white men be wrong, as the new savans admit, what is the algebraic expression that will convey the degree of culpability of enslaving a mulatto, quadroon, octoroon, &c.? It is evident that there arises the need of a school of subtle physiologic casuists who shall determine the precise degrees in which crime and color intervene.
Meantime there is no attempt to prove the fundamental proposition on which the new theory of society is based -- namely, that the negroes are of a different species from the white man. Mr. STEPHENS contents himself with falling back on the curse of Canaan! It would be scarcely credible that such pitiful extravagances could be urged by men animated by any sane or serious aims in life; but such is literally the argument put forth in this official piece justificative. That they are the views held by a majority of the most advanced minds of the South, is certain; and the fact is a sad evidence of the intellectual imbecility which, by a metaphysical necessity, ever follows moral perversity. Indeed, so puzzling is it to conceive that the motives urged as prompting secession are really those animating the people of the South, that European statesmen, in attempting theoretically to account for the movement, urge that the question of Slavery is really subordinate to that of Free Trade, or some other, and that the antagonism between the North and South is rather one of economic conditions than of abstract politics. But we have the deliberate declaration of Mr. STEPHENS that "the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization was the immediate cause of the late rupture and the present revolution."
It is well that events have brought the question to assume a shape so precise and well defined. Opinions and sentiments, long diffused, have now crystalized round definite centres. The question is no longer obscured by sophistical entanglements as to Constitutional constructions or the status of Slavery in the Territories: it is Slavery per se just and divine. This is a very great advance, and puts the solution forward a hundred years. It is easy to see how, by the operation of purely material means, Slavery may now become extinct. It is in the line of the action of that in exorable logic of facts, which is well called Providence in the destiny of nations, that systems which stand in the path of Progress are made by the operation of natural laws to work their own destruction.
It would indeed be impossible to manifest more palpably the utter impotence and suicidal character of this movement than is done by the spirit of the articles of faith with which this "model nation of history" comes before the world. In such spirit nothing was even devised, planted or built by man: Success on such terms is possible only on condition that all that makes history illustrious ina cheat, Progress a mockery, and the world without a God. The records of humanity are not without similar tragic episodes of national delirium, which assume, on the pages of History, the character of a sort of irony of the Fates.