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n'a pas ratifiée, est nulle ; ce n'est point une loi.” And though we are not disposed to receive the doctrine of the last-mentioned writer, that of the three American statesmen will be found to rest upon the true basis, and to be the only foundation upon which States can be erected.
E. B. B.
ART. IX.-NORTHERN PERIODICALS VERSUS THE SOUTH.
1. Harper's New Monthly Magazine. August, 1854.
ture and Art. September, 1854.
But alas for conservatism! Even the so-called literary journals, failing to draw the distinction between questions purely social and those involving politics in their bitterest phase, have at length entered the arena, and undertaken to animadvert upon the views and practice of an entire section of the American Union.
Nearly five years ago, the Messrs. Harper, the most enterprising and wealthy publishers in the country, gave notice of their intention to issue a literary magazine, which should meet the wants of the “ American people, rather than those of any particular class or profession,” and politics were especially to be eschewed. When the first numbers appeared, many were disappointed, but most were pleased; there was a great lack of originality, but there was also a considerable fund of amusement. The publishers had not secured any great proportion of their country's
talent for their contributions, but they had presented a very readable work, and men were satisfied. The publishers' notice upon the cover did certainly allude, as a feature of the magazine, to editorial articles, in which the leading topics of the day would be considered with ability and independence; but no one, at least at the South, supposed that the “leading topics of the day” were to include political subjects, on which the two great sections of the country were engaged in a continual controversy, so heated, as to threaten civil disruption. Nor was it imagined that the editor's
independence and ability ” would bring him into conflict with nearly half his countrymen, by his denunciations alike of their principles and their practice, and his support of views which, if carried out, would render their social and political situation insecure and dangerous.
This the South, which forms an important portion of that “ American people,” whose taste the publishers profess to have so carefully studied, could not anticipate; and it was neither desired nor intended that it should be anticipated. The time for that had not yet come; the magazine was young; public favor in all quarters was to be propitiated; people and press, South as well as North, were to be enlisted; it was to "take"—to be an old, as well as a welcome visitor, before liberties could be attempted; it was to become, by custom and habit, a necessity of literary life, and not a mere luxury, or even a comfort; it was to become so essential to the relaxation of the student and the stock-in-trade of the gossip-monger—to the lay hours of the clergyman and the existence of the boarding-school miss—to the traveller's equipage and the lawyer's intermission from study, as not for “light and transient causes,” or even for grave ones, to be cast aside. All this it was to have been, before it would be safe to pervert it into a vehicle for the circulation of social and political poison, by its “impartial and independent discussions” of subjects which it was implicitly pledged never to touch.
Bearing so fair a countenance, the “New Monthly Magazine” met with rapid success and a constantly increasing circulation. Southern editors lauded, and Southern citizens patronized it, until the publishers' hope of its becoming a literary necessity seemed
far advanced towards realization. Even when its sole (or chief) editor, without relinquishing his connection, assumed the conduct of an acknowledged free-soil daily paper, Southern confidence, although slightly alarmed was soon restored. Indeed, there was no change in the tone of the “monthly,” and hence, no reasonable ground of objection to the editor. The time had not yet come. Whether, in the number which heads this article, the publishers thought the time had come, or not, we are unprepared to say; but certain it is, that the editor's “ UNION SAVING” article of that month was a serious blunder. If they really desired, in good faith, not to offend against that spirit of “uniform approbation and encouragement,” which the Southern, as well as the Northern, portion of the American people had accorded to their periodical, the article cited was simply a great and unpardonable
If, on the other hand, their plan was, as we have suggested, to create and secure the confidence of all sections before violating that of any, they have grossly deceived themselves. True, they had confidence; but it was not a confidence of that stamp which believes that “the king can do no wrong," nor is our attachment to the work so strong as to admit that we had “better suffer the evil than part with the cause. They have been premature in exposing their contemplated course ; their poison is too abruptly tendered; it is not insidious enough, for, although not labelled, it is only too perceptible. It is not like the deadly drug that adds a zest to the viand which contains it, but a dose given boldly and in goodly quantity, to be succeeded by other doses, with intervals, of course, but equally bold and deadly, each of which will probably find its victims.
The article in question contains various comments upon the present state of affairs, in the usual “trimmer”-like tone of affected moderation. But the editor's real sentiments are given in various expressions which, if they convey the truth, ought to render him, for the sake of consistency, a sympathizer with the abolitionists, instead of being, as he pretends, a denouncer of their doctrines. He “shares, and warmly shares, the common feeling of the North,” with regard to the Nebraska bill; he alludes to what he is pleased to consider “the many dark features of slaver y
as it now exists,” and concludes his article by giving three positions, one of which “the practical philanthropist” must advovocate. To wit: “1st. Servitude, with its rights as well as duties, defined by law, instead of being left to the individual will — a servitude made as humane as legislation, and the social circumstances of mankind, can possibly render it, and with an eye to the moral and physical good of the serving race, as well as to the profit of the master-we may even say with a special regard to the former, as more imperatively demanded by the inferior and dependent condition. Such is the only form of slavery, in which it can possibly be shielded from the reprobation of every enlightened conscience.
2nd. Political freedom, with social degradation, arising inevitábly from the antagonism of two races on the same soil, with social jealousies and contempts unmitigated by the ties of social dependence.
“ If we cannot bear the first,” he continues, "if a true regard for human dignity makes intolerable the thought that perpetual servitude, even in its mildest form, should be the lot of any portion of the human race-if our souls still more revolt at the second, as presenting the worst evils of slavery, without any of its more humanizing counteracting traits; there is, then, but one condition left. We have to choose
3rd. The separation of the two races, and the exodus of one of them, at whatever expense of toil and treasure it may have to be accomplished. Removed to Africa they might acquire, from mere change of locality, a social and political energy that would make them the civilizers of that vast continent. Remaining where they are, they are a cause of degeneracy, and that too, to both races. Whether in servitude, or in a nominal and degraded freedom, they have all the vices of civilization without any of the energies or virtues of barbarism. The only remedy, then, that reaches the very core of the evil is, that which is the reverse of the original wrong ; in other words, the separation of races so unrighteously and so unnaturally combined, and for this there is needed the continuance of the American Union. If there were no other reason this alone should secure for it the best counsels of every patriot
statesman, the most ardent exertions of every enlightened philanthropist.”
Truly, the South must appreciate the editor's reason for desiring to preserve the Union ! The article is by no means an able one; it contains no sentiments or views original in themselves; they are original only as appearing where we did not expect to see them, and where, we must think, the editor had, in good faith, no right to express them. But what else can we look for? Have we not really been a little too blind and confiding ? Ought we to expect Mr. Raymond, of Harper's Magazine, to continue writing very differently from Mr. Raymond of Harper's Free-Soil N. Y. Times? We know the latter to be by no means impartial or independent; and we know that he entertains certain opinions hostile to us, of which his newspaper is the avowed advocate ; is it then reasonable to conclude that he can long restrain his pen in the “ monthly,” especially when he has the public permission
“ consider the leading topics of the day ?” In similar bad faith, with greater virulence, and with less excuse, are we and our institutions denounced in the September number of the other notable monthly, which appears at the head of our article. We say with less excuse, because, in Harper's department for the “Record of Current Events,” political occurrences were admitted as items of news, but without comment ; whereas, Putnam had no provision for political matters, either in his title or in any of his departments.
The work has been received and patronized at the South, as one treating of “ Literature, Science and Art;" and we maintain that it is a violation, alike of good faith and good taste, to insert in it an article full of the coarsest invective against slavery, slave-holders, and every one having the slightest connection, or acting at all in concert with the South and her interests. The author indulges in expressions which neither aid his arguments, nor embellish his diction ; not even the great apostle of abolition, the New York Tribune, has often equalled his unqualified abuse. He professes to have an “utter contempt" for many things, and among them, we suppose, he includes truth and decency; but we insert extracts from some of his precious paragraphs, and do him no injustice by the selection. Hear him :