Slavery and the Incoming Administration, BQR 1857 (Civil War)
The Democratic party has succeeded in electing their candidates for the presidency and vice-presidency of the Union. They have won the victory at the polls, but the far more difficult task awaits them of turning that victory to the common good of the country. Mr. Buchanan is a man of experience and ability, but he assumes the reins of government in circumstances of no ordinary difficulty, and which are well fitted to try the best of men, and to call forth the firmness, energy, and decision of the greatest. If he proves equal to his position, carries the government safely through the present crisis, and leaves at the end of four years the party of the Union united and strong enough to administer the government on constitutional principles in spite of all sectional opposition, he will render his administration memorable in our annals, and deserve to be ranked as the second father of his country. The most of us who at the North voted for Mr. Buchanan did so on Union principles, for the purpose of defeating what we regarded as a northern sectional party on the one hand, and an intolerant, un-American party on the other. We ourselves supported him not from any attachment to the Democratic party as such, but as the candidate opposed to know-nothingism and abolitionism, the two most threatening dangers that existed prior to the election. But there are other extremes also to be guarded against. Know-nothingism we regard as dead and buried. The danger now arises almost solely from the question of negro slavery, -a question which has no place there through the fault of the South as well as the North, and cannot without a fearful struggle now be excluded. The incoming administration cannot prudently stave off this question, but must meet it boldly, firmly, and dispose of it, or it will dispose of the Democratic party. The Cincinnati platform endorses the policy a very liberal interpretation, it will prove the rock on which the party will split, and perhaps the Union itself. The Kansas-Nebraska policy, not, however, adopted for the first time in the Kansas-Nebraska bill, was designed to combine the slave states as a solid plalanx in support of the Democratic party, so as by the aid of two or three Democratic states in the non-slaveholding section of the Union, to secure the election of its candidates for the presidency against all the rest, and even against the majority of the popular vote. There may be political conjunctures, when such a policy is excusable, but regarded as the permanent policy of a party that professes to consult the welfare of whole Union, we want language to express the abhorrence in which it should be held. We shall be believed when we say that we do not oppose this policy on slavery or anti-slavery ground. We condemn that policy solely for its bearing on the distribution of power, and on the administration of the government. The slave states constitute not the strongest section of the Union; but the slave interest is stronger than any other one interest in the country, and is more than a match for all the others taken singly. It can combine a larger political minority in its favor than any other, though after all only a minority. To combine all the slaveholding states around that interest, and secure them the administration of the government by the aid of one, two, or three Democratic free states against the votes of all the rest, is really to place the government in the hands of the sectional, slaveholding minority, because the minority is the immense majority of the party that elects the president. To suppose such a policy to be permanent is to suppose that the slave interest is to govern the country, and that the majority of the Union is to submit to the slaveholding minority. It fully carried out and consolidated, the policy would virtually disfranchise, as to the general government, the majority of the American people, and render the non-slaveholding states the subjects, ultimately the slaves, of the minority, held together by a particular interest, and that too an interest which has no right to enter into the politics of the Union. No stateman, worthy of the name, can for one moment believe the free states would long submit to be thus deprived of their legitimate influence in the affairs or the country, and quietly acqniesce in the domination of some three hundred thousand slaveholders, in a single geographical section. Having, as they well know, the absolute majority, having also, as they fully believe, the power, they would rebel against their southern masters, and form a northern sectional party, do their best to defeat and subject the slave interest, and in their turn attempt to bring the slaveholding states under the domination of the north manufacturers, bankers, brokers, and stock jobbers. There are anti-slavery men at the North,- and we have found anti-slavery men also at the South,-but it would be a great mistake to suppose that it is a real anti-slavery feeling that has in the late elections given the so-called Republicans their immense majorities in the free states. It is no such thing. The large majority of the electors in the non-slaveholding states are neither "nigger-drivers" nor "nigger-worshippers," to use the homely but expressive terms of the New York Herald, and while strongly opposed to the extension of the area of slavery, they have no disposition to interfere with it where it now legally exists. It is in the power of the South to make every man, woman, and child, north of Mason and Dixon's line, an abolitionist, but as yet the majority are not so, and are willing to leave slavery to the disposition of the several states in which it exists. The real struggle between the North and South is a struggle for power. The South seeks to extend and consolidate the slave interest, because that interest gives her a power in the Union to which she is not entitled by her numbers, and the North opposes slavery, not because of its alleged sinfulness, but because it would prevent it from becoming predominant, and excluding the free states from their legitimate influence in the Union. Here is the significance of the struggle that is now raging, and which the incoming administration will be obliged to face as best it may. The Kansas-Nebraska policy may be though to have elected Mr. Buchanan, and his natural temptation may be to administer the government in accordance with the southern interest which has contributed the most to his election. The southern minority is the immense majority of the party that has elected him. In all except two or three free states the Democratic party is for the present in a hopeless minority; a very large majority of the popular vote of the Union was cast against it, and without the union of the South, where is Mr. Buchanan to look for support for his administration? And how is he to retain the South united, without supporting the policy of the slave interest? But, if he does support that policy, if he makes it a point to tavor that interest, and carry out the views of those who aim through it to control administration, as Nicholas Biddle hoped to control the credit system of the world by buying up the cotton crop of the South, he will not only administer the government as a southern sectional president, but inevitably prepare the way for the accession of a northern sectional president in 1860. The experiment of the last election is one that cannot be repeated with success. There is a spirit aroused at the North, whether good or bad, that cannot prudently be tampered with, and Mr. Buchanan's safety lies alone in administering the government on strictly Union principles, -justice to all sections of the Union, but partiality to none. He must interpret the Kansas-Nebraska policy to mean really and truly the non-intervention of congress in the question of slavery, the complete exclusion of that question from federal politics. The Kansas-Nebraska bill professed, but falsely professed, to be framed on the principle of non-intervention. Slavery, we hold, is a local institution, and not placed within the province of the federal government. That government is bound to respect all the laws and institutions of the several states, not in derogation of the constitution and laws of the United States, and to provide for reclaiming by their owners persons held to service in one state and escaping into another; but further than that it has no constitutional power over it. It can neither abolish it where it exists, nor authorize it where it does not exist, unless it is opposed to this principle, and is an attempt on the part of congress to enable slavery to gain a legal introduction into new territory, under the pretense of leaving it to the territorial people to decide for themselves whether they will have slaves or not. But the people of a territory not yet erected into a state, have no political or civil powers, except those conferred by congress, and congress can confer no power which it does not itself possess, or authorize them to do anything which it has not the constitutional right to do itself. Congress having itself no right to say whether slavery shall or shall not be allowed, it cannot, of course, authorize the people to do so. The attempt to get over the lack of power on the part of congress, by the recognition of so-called "squatter sovereignty," is unworthy of high-minded and honorable statesmen. Squatter sovereignty is an absurdity, and repugnant to the first principles of all legal order. Under our system of government the people as states possess original and underived sovereignty, and sovereignty, under God, in its plenitude, save so far as by their own free and irrevocable act they have delegated its exercise to the Union. But the inhabitants of a territory have no original and underived sovereignty at all; they have no existence as a sovereign people, and no inherent political or civil rights and powers. Whatever legislative authority the territorial legislature may have, it holds it as a grant from congress. To recognize in the people of the territory original and underived legislative power is a contradiction in terms; for it is to recognize them as a state, while they are only a territory. When they receive permission from congress to organize themselves as a state, and to form a state constitution preparatory to admission into the Union, they may authorize slavery or not as it seems to them good, for then they act as a state, from their own inherent sovereignty, but not till then; for till then, they can act only under the authority of congress. The clause in the bill remitting the decision of the question of slavery to the territorial people is, therefore, in our judgment, totally unconstitutional, and all acts done under it are null and void from the beginning. Congress can neither legislate slavery into a territory nor out of it, because slavery is not within the scope of its constitutional powers, and is a matter over which the states have supreme and exclusive jurisdiction. This, as we understand it, is southern doctrine, and we believe it sound. Let the South and the North each have its advantages and submit to its disadvantages. The slaveholding states ought to be satisfied with it, and the free states, if they love the constitution, have no reason to object to it, for it excludes slavery from all territory under the Union, till it becomes a state. The supreme court of the United States has decided that slavery is a local institution, and exists only by virtue of local law. The right of the master, then, to his slave is not a right that adheres to him, and which he can carry with him into other territory, or a foreign locality. Hence all our courts hold that a slave brought by his owner into a free state ceases to be a slave, and he would be free the moment his master carried him across the frontier even into another slave state, if the positive law of this latter state did not renew and confirm the master's right. The principle on which courts proceed is, that every man is born free, and can he deprived of his natural freedom only by a positive local law. Every man is in presumption of law a freeman, and no one can be treated otherwise than as a freeman, except where a local law making him a slave can he pleaded. The slave carried by his master, or were it not for the constitutional provision with regard to fugitive slaves, escaping from that locality into another where no such local positive law can be pleaded, resumes his natural freedom, and reenters the class of freemen. Nature knows no slaves. By the law of nature all men are born free and equal, and man has no jus dominii in man. The common law, in so far as it does not consist of local customs and usages, is coincident with the law of nature or natural right, and customs and usages have the force of law. only in their particular locality. There is no American law common to the whole Union that authorizes slavery in the absence of the statute law prohibiting it, because such law could proceed only from some act of the states forming the Union, and no such act can be pretended. The argument based on the obligation of congress to protect the right of property, which we used in 1847, in our article on Slavery and the Mexican War,* is rendered invalid by the decision of the supreme court, of which we were then ignorant, that slavery exists only by virtue of local law. Therefore the right of property held by the master in his slave is a local right, and y las no existence out of that locality. If we understand the decision. the federal courts can recognize the right of the master only in cases- that come under the lex loci. Hence the courts of law in Kansas, were a suit brought involving the point, would be obliged, we doubt not, to declare the alleged slave a free man, whatever may have been the action of the people or the territorial legislature. We deny that slavery does or can legally exist in Kansas, so long as Kansas remains a territory under the United States. The great objection to the Kansas-Nebraska bill is to the clause authorizing the people of the territory to decide whether they will allow slavery or not. We deny the power of congress to authorize them to do so. In so far as the bill touches slavery, it provides for its possible introduction into territory where it cannot go legally or constitutionally. It was an attempt to impose upon the Democracy, by confounding the people as a territory with the people as a state, although by no means the first attempt of the kind. It hoped, because the people as a state are sovereign, to have it pass without opposition that they are sovereign as a territory, or have as a territory inherent and underived legislative authority,-an absurdity equaled only by the so called Missouri compromise, which we are glad to see struck from our statute books. We reject with indignation this abominable doctrine of "squatter sovereignty," and oppose the Kansas-Nebraska policy still more for its recognition of this doctrine than for any advantage it is likely to secure to the slave interest. Yet, as a recognition of it in favor of that interest, it is also objectionable. Our readers know that we are no abolitionists, and no one can suspect us of any sympathy with them. We say distinctly that we are strongly opposed to all efforts made in the non-slaveholding states to abolish slavery where it now legally exists. We have no right or wish to interfere with it in a single slave state. It is, in those states, an affair of their own, and to their disposition of it we feel ourselves bound to leave it. We always have defended, and always shall scrupulously defend, to the best of our feeble abilities, all the constitutional rights of slaveholders as well as of non-slaveholders; we will not interfere with the free development and expansion of slavery within its legal limits; but we are not and never have been the champion of slavery; we have never been and never expect to be captivated by its beauties; and, in common with the great body of the people of the free states, we are personally opposed to its extension beyond the limits of the states in which it now legally exists, and we cannot condemn those who believe themselves bound to use all their constitutional rights to resist its further extension. We will scrupulously respect all the rights of the slave states, but we expect them to respect equally all the rights of the free states, and we are unable to see why it is not as honorable and as chivalric to labor to extend the area of freedom as it is to labor to extend the area of slavery. If we are opposed to the subjection of the South by the North, we are equally opposed to the subjection of the North by the South. We deem it the part of all wise American statesmanship to resist by all constitutional and honorable means, the building up in any section of the Union of a great consolidated sectional interest, able to control and subject all others. The slave interest is as legitimate as the banking or the mercantile interest, but it is everywhere one and identical, and is already the most powerful interest in the country, and if it comes into federal politics, it is able through the division of other interests, to control the policy of the general government. As far as this interest is legitimate, and is wielded in a constitutional way, we have nothing to allege against it; but as a citizen, looking to the welfare of the whole Union, we may well be opposed to its growth and expansion beyond its legal limits ; we may well be disposed to use all our constitutional rights to restrict it and to keep it out of the arena of politics, and on the same principle, and for nearly the same reasons that General Jackson opposed the old United States bank. We enter here into no inquiry as to the party that first brought slavery into federal politics. Very likely the North in this respect is the principal offender. But whoever was the first aggressor, the question has now to be met on its merits, as at present before the public, and treated in reference to its bearing on the future peace and integrity of the Union. There is a party at the North, resolved at all hazards to effect the complete abolition of slavery,- a party that may become strong, but which as yet is comparatively weak. There is also a party at the South, or a so-called southern party, that avails itself of the aggressions of the North as a plea for extending and consolidating the slave interest. Its members are called disunionists, and perhaps do now and then threaten secession; but their real policy, as we regard it, is not disunion, but, through the slave interest, supremacy. It enters into their calculations by filibustering or other means to annex Cuba, all southern Mexico, and Central America, as slave states, and they are taking their measures to force the North to aid them, apparently to take the lead, in doing it. Cuba is to be annexed to prevent it from becoming a free colony, and also to add another slave state to the Union. If the Spanish laws and edicts on slavery were executed in Cuba there would remain very few slaves in that island. I am told that by far the larger part of the black population of the island are legally entitled to their freedom, and that the reason -why the Cuban Creoles wish to be annexed to the Union, is the fear that the mother country, the moment she gets matters settled at home, may take it into her head to see that her laws and edicts in favor of freedom are enforced, and thus deprive them of their slaves. This is the Spanish tyranny of which we hear so much. It is pretty certain that slavery will not much longer exist in Cuba, if it remains a colony of Spain. Hence the desire of the Cuban slaveholders to be annexed to the Union; and to avoid another example of emancipation in their immediate neighborhood is one strong reason why the people of the southwestern states entertain the same desire. Keopen the slave trade, annex Cuba, Mexico, and Central America, these last after having been first organized into a southern republic by Walker or some other equally worthy adventurer, apparently hostile to the United States, so as not to excite the opposition of France and England, and the slave interest will have so extended and consolidated itself that it cannot only defy, as it is trusted, the attacks of northern abolitionism, but also dictate as a master the policy of the federal administration. This, we take it, is what the so-called southern party, really not more southern than northern in its composition, is pursuing. It is, also, a policy not absolutely impracticable, if its abettors can, by alarming the friends of the Union as to the danger of northern sectionalism, prevent the sound portion of the people from interposing in time to thwart it. Northern speculation has a hand in it, and it’s most efficient supporters we presume are to be found in this city. The Cincinnati platform, with its endorsement of the Kansas-Nebraska bill, the strong emphasis placed on the so-called '' Monroe doctrine," and the recent movement towards the revival of slavery by Walker in Nicaragua, are all significant, and indicate pretty plainly what is intended and what is expected. We do not pretend that this policy finds its support only at the South, or that there are not northern demagogues and speculators in abundance leagued with the southern: nor do we pretend that the South is unanimously in favor of it. The mass of the people both South and North are really and firmly attached to the Union, and ask nothing more than to have the government administered in accordance with Union principles, leaving all sectional interests to be disposed of by the several state governments. But the advocates of the policy we have under consideration are laboring through the slave interest to combine the whole southern people in its favor, by making them generally believe that their only security for their slave property is in its realization. The leaders of the party are, perhaps, northern, rather than southern men, and the whole scheme looks to us like the product of a northern, rather than a southern brain. It smells of Wall street. These leaders care no more for one section of the Union than another, and their aim is simply to use the South through the slave interest to further the purposes of their own selfish ambition and personal aggrandizement. They wish to build up a single permanent interest strong enough to dictate the policy of the government, and the slave interest is the one which seems to them to have the requisite capabilities. By combining slavery with democracy, and democracy with the extension of territory and therefore with the interest of the speculators, they hope to succeed in their plans. The danger in this case, as in most others, comes from creating false issues. The party we oppose labor at the South to confound the security of slave property, where it is legally recognized, and which is all that the great body of the southern people ask, with slavery extension, or the enlargement of the area of slavery ; while at the North they labor to confound opposition to the extension of slavery into new territory, with abolitionism, or a determination to interfere with slavery in the slave states themselves. They will not suffer either at the South or at the North the proper issue to be made before the public. Hence the danger. The first thing for Mr. Buchanan to do, is so to shape his administration as to bring the question in its proper form before the American people. He must show the South that the security of slave property and the extension of slave territory have no necessary connection, perhaps are incompatible one with the other, and the North that opposition to the extension of slavery into territory where it cannot go constitutionally does not involve abolitionism, and may be consistent with the most scrupulous respect for the rights of slave property in its own locality. All the great body of the southern people want is security for their property in slaves; all the great body of the northern people think of asking is security that slavery shall not leap its present bounds, and become the dominant interest of the country. Mr. Buchanan, then, must make his appeal distinctly to the great body of the people both North and South, and show by his appointments and the measures he adopts or recommends that, as far as depends on his government, the slaveholding states shall be protected in all their constitutional rights, and no countenance will be given either to the party of abolition or the party of extension. This is what is imposed upon him as a constitutional president, and if distinctly adopted and carried out with resolution and impartiality, the administration will be brought back to Union principles, and the demagogues whether northern or southern will be defeated. This is the work Mr. Buchanan has been elected to perform, and which he must perform if he means even to retain power in the hands of the Democratic party. In urging this Union policy upon the incoming administration against the abolition party on the one hand and the slavery extension party on the other, we are warring against the just rights of no section, we are simply warring against sectionalism, whether northern or southern. The federal government was instituted for the common weal of all the states, and its utility depends on its confining itself to the interests common to all sections of the Union. We do not, in asking the administration to discountenance the slavery extension party, ask it to interfere positively to prevent the extension of slavery to new territory, but not to interfere to favor it. Slavery cannot extend legally beyond the present slave states into territory not yet erected into states, without the positive action of the federal government; and the only concession to the North we ask is, that that action shall be withheld, for it is both dangerous and unconstitutional. All the concession we ask for the South is, that the question of slavery be excluded from federal politics, and left to be disposed of by the states, by each state, when a state, for itself, and as regards the territories by the federal courts. More than this neither the North nor the South has any real interest in demanding, and to demand more may be to get less. The admirers of slavery, whether northern or southern, must know that they stand very much alone, and that it is too late to attempt to make converts to the slave system. Say what we will, slavery is regarded by the civilized world as an odious institution, as well as by the great mass of the people of the free states, and even the people of the slave states themselves are very far from being unanimous in their admiration of it. We have found as much gen nine, honest abolition sentiment in the slave states as we have ever found in the free states, and the southern politicians, who talk so violently against the northern Yankees, know very well that it requires the most strenuous efforts on their part to retain their hold on their constituents. Most of their declamation is intended for effect at home, rather than abroad. For ourselves personally, we would not emancipate the slave population at the South, if we had the power, not, indeed, because we like slavery, but because with all the study we have been able to give to the subject, we can discover no condition possible at present for the mass of that population superior to that in which they now are. Humanity towards that population, if nothing else, would prevent us from being an abolitionist. But the South cannot be ignorant that she has the civilized world against her, and if she seeks in earnest to foist her domestic institutions on territory under the constitution now free, she will meet in the free states a resistance, which even her chivalry will not be able to withstand. The free states are determined that there shall be no further extension of slave territory to the North or to the South, and the immense pluralities in the late election for Colonel Fremont prove that their resolution in this respect is not to be despised ; and yet Colonel Fremont himself did not command the full vote of the party opposed to slavery extension. If his election had turned on that question alone, he would have swept by overwhelming majorities every non-slaveholding state in the Union, and perhaps have carried two or three even of the slave states. This should admonish the incoming administration that no strengthening and consolidating of the slave interest beyond its strict constitutional rights, can be prudently attempted. The free states will not consent to be governed by that interest. Southern politicians and southern journals may threaten secession; may talk disunion, may advocate a southern slaveholding confederacy, but it will not move the mass of the people in the free states. If the controversy proceeds to blows, they will give as well as receive, and perhaps not be the first to yield. If worst comes to worst, the old battle of the Puritans and the Cavaliers will be fought over again, and the party opposed to slavery extension will then, in spite of all that can be said, be an abolition party, and the cry will be "freedom to the slave," instead of the old cry of "a godly reformation of the church and state." The South cannot afford to provoke such a conflict, for in it the moral sense of the civilized world would be with the North, which would be cheered on as the champion of freedom. Vol XVII-5 But we have not the slightest fear of a civil war. There is too much good sense and good feeling in all sections, and too ardent a love for the Union to permit it; and on neither side will it get beyond the bullying point. Yet the South can no more safely press slavery extension than the North can abolition principles and movements. Either is pregnant with danger, and should be abandoned. Let the abolition movement be restrained, and the slavery extension movement can be easily defeated ; let the slavery extension policy be withdrawn, and we can easily confine abolitionism to a few harmless men and women who find their dissipation in philanthropy instead of theatres, routs, and balls. Both movements must be suppressed, and the policy of the incoming administration must be to suppress them by favoring neither, and by resisting each when it seeks either to control or to embarrass it. In doing so, we do not say Mr. Buchanan will escape opposition or obloquy; he will no doubt be accused of want of fidelity to the Cincinnati platform, of betraying the South, or of courting the North ; but he will, if he does it openly, decidedly, bravely, he sustained, for the people know that the only platform he is at liberty to consult is the constitution, and the only party to which he is responsible is the party of the Union. lIe has not been elected to carry out the will of any sectional party, northern or southern, eastern or western; but to administer the government for four years on constitutional principles, and with sole reference to those rights and interests which are common to all the states. Let him feel that, and take his stand above party, command party, not serve it, and the country will sustain him, and honor him as one of her greatest and most deserving presidents. We know the slavery question is one of great delicacy, but it must be resolutely faced, and both sections must give up something. The South must yield its assumed right to transport slave property into territories not yet erected into states, and the North must yield its pretension to the right of congress to refuse to admit a state into the Union, whose constitution does not exclude slavery. The southern claim "is unfounded because the right of property in slaves is local, not general; and the northern pretension is unconstitutional, because congress has no right to examine the constitution of a sovereign state any further than to ascertain that it is not anti-republican or incompatible with the constitution of the United States. Under our system it is neither anti-republican nor unconstitutional for a state to authorize slavery. The people of the state, not of the territory, have the undoubted constitutional right, within its own jurisdiction, to establish or to prohibit slavery as they please; and to the people of the state,-not of the territory, as says the Kansas-Nebraska bill,-the disposition of the question must be left. This may not prevent the extension of slavery into new states after their formation as states; but it will prevent its extension by the aid of the federal government, which is all that the anti-slavery extension party can constitutionally insist upon, or attempt by political action. With this both sections must be contented. Any claim on either side beyond will only provoke exaggeration on the other, and render internal peace impracticable. There must, again, be no talk of reviving the African slave trade. The slave trade is placed by the constitution under the authority of congress, and the Union has the constitutional right to act on it. No doubt our northern and eastern cities swarm with mammon-worshippers anxious to have the trade reopened, and ready to enter into it with all their Yankee energy and perseverance; but that traffic is infamous, and by nearly all civilized nations is declared to be piracy. Were we to reopen it we should become forever infamous. It is almost enough to make an honest man turn abolitionist to find slavery so blunting the moral sense as to permit men otherwise honorable and high-minded to broach, even in conversation, a thing so infamous. We confess what we have read in respectable southern journals, and heard talked by men of high character in regard to reopening the African slave trade has shocked us, and greatly modified our feelings on the subject of slavery. That traffic was condemned by the church as long ago as 1482, and the condemnation has been renewed by successive popes down to our own times. The Catholic who engages in it, who reduces the African negro to slavery, or who buys and holds as a slave any one so reduced from a state of freedom, is ipso facto excommunicated. No class of citizens have more uniformly or more faithfully supported the constitutional rights of the slaveholding states than Catholics, both North and South. With us it has been a point of conscience, of religion to be loyal to the Union, loyal to the constitution, and it has been a sense of duty to the Union, to the constitution, that has made us here at the North vote in almost one solid phalanx for Mr. Buchanan, against what we regarded as northern sectionalism. None of us like slavery, none of us wish to perpetuate it; all of us love freedom, and hold all men to be equal under the law of nature; but we all respect vested rights, and our respect for the constitutional rights of the slaveholding states, has led us to vote, often much against our personal interests, with the South. But we can never support any party in so infamous a project as that of reopening the African slave trade, a trade which our religion condemns, and which has brought a curse upon every Catholic state that has permitted it. We regard it with horror, and must oppose it to the last gasp, let the cost be to us what it may. If you insist on it, you will compel us to vote as Catholics, as well as citizens, against you, for you then insist on a matter that our religion as Catholics condemns. You touch our consciences, and compel us for religion's sake to cast our votes against you, and there is not a non-slaveholding state in the Union, without us, on whose vote you can count. You would make a northern sectional party a duty as well as a necessity, and commit the honor of the country to the keeping of the North. This were moonlight madness, and we do not believe that the high-minded and chivalric, the moral and Christian South will itself consent to it. The project of reopening the slave trade, advocated, we regret to see, by the governor of South Carolina in his recent message to the legislature of that state, if seriously entertained, will give to the question of slavery a new face, as well as new and startling dimensions, and convert every northern Union man into a decided anti-slavery man. Northern Union men do not love slavery, and they submit to it where it legally exists, only as they submit to a lesser in order to avoid a greater evil. Impose upon them the additional burden of bearing the infamy of the slave trade, and you will find them entirely unmanageable. They will, in their indignation, throw off that burden and the other too. Constitutional scruples will no longer restrain them, and they will pour down upon the South as an army of veritable northern Berserkers, whose fury no earthly power can restrain or withstand. Is it prudent on the part of the friends of slavery to push us so far. to exact so much of us? Is it wise to take away from us all middle ground, and force us either to become propagandists of slavery or to join with the abolitionists? Can they not see that, if compelled to take sides, we shall deem it more Christian, more honorable, more chivalric even, to make common cause with the abolition movement than with a movement for reviving and legalizing the African slave trade? Cannot these so-called "fire-eaters" understand that we at the North, especially we who have always stood by the Union and resisted all encroachments on the constitutional rights of the slave interest, have the principles of religion and of honor in as high a degree at least as they have? Can they not understand that we have defended the South from loyalty to the constitution, and not from any good will we have to slavery? Do they expect to convert us to their slavery worship, and to make us admirers of the concealed beauties of negro slavery? If they have so expected, it is time for them to be undeceived. We know the enemies of the Union at the South and at the North labor with all their might to force the party whose candidate Mr. Buchanan was into one extreme or the other, and to compel it to be either an abolitionist or a pro-slavery party. They are determined that there shall be no Union of men. The wider they can make the breach the better are they pleased. The abolitionists hope by so doing to compel all the free states to take up their cause, and the pro-slavery men hope by the same means to combine all the slave states, and through them either rule or split the Union, and form a grand southern republic in which slavery may be developed and expanded without the restraints necessarily imposed by their connections with the free states. But if the South follows the lead of these "fireeaters," who look for a grand field for slavery expansion in yet unannexed Mexico, Central America, and the West Indies, the abolitionists will prove the successful party, for they will have the federal government and the moral sympathy of the world on their side. Cotton, rice, and tobacco are very important, we own, in regulating our exchanges, but not so important as they were before the California gold discoveries, and California will not go with the slavery republic. The immense Republican vote in the free states proves, among other thing*, that exchanges do not depend as exclusively on southern products as they did a few years ago. The great West is opened, and its products are every day becoming a more and more important element in trade, domestic and foreign. The great agricultural free states, in the valley of the Mississippi, all Republican states, with two exceptions, not to be counted on, will never suffer the mouth of the Mississippi and the southern outlets of their trade to be held by a foreign state, though of kindred blood, especially if that foreign state depends on slave labor. The southern confederacy would find itself opposed not only by the Northeast, but by the still more formidable Northwest, and brave as are the southern chivalry, and as handy as they are in using gutta-percha canes, they would be powerless before the two united, acting by authority of the federal government, with the war-cry of freedom. No; the interest of the South as well as of the North is in loyalty to the Union, and she should be as careful to avoid the issue the " fire-eaters " and abolitionists are forcing upon her as we of the North, and perhaps even more so. She must, then, for her own sake discountenance all movements towards reviving and legalizing the slave trade, and be contented with our fidelity to our constitutional engagements. If she finds the slave interest too weak for her ambition, it is a misfortune from which she has no right to expect the free states to relieve her. She takes her chance with the rest, and must bear her share of her own burdens. We do not reproach her with her slavery, but we owe her no aid beyond letting it alone where it is. With that she must make up her mind to be satisfied, and so much the free states are, in that ease, bound to give her. We have been discussing slavery merely as a political question, in relation to federal politics; we have not felt called upon to consider it in its moral aspects. As a Catholic the moral question has long since been settled for us. We have no vague, floating, or uncertain doctrines on the subject. We do not agree with the abolitionists that slavery is malum in se, and that one cannot with a good conscience be a slaveholder. We do not any more believe that slavery is an unmixed evil, or that in private morals, or the Christian virtues, the southern people are one whit inferior to their northern brethren. As a general rule, we believe the slaves are treated with kindness and humanity, sufficiently fed and clothed, and not over-worked. We believe they are morally and physically better off, with individual exceptions, than they would be if emancipated; and therefore we would not, as we have said, disturb the relation which exists between them and their masters, if we had the power and the constitutional right. Nevertheless, the mare we have seen of slavery under its most favorable aspects, the more satisfied are we that it is an evil to be borne, rather than a good to be sought, to be confined rather than extended. We are not writing in a spirit hostile to southern interests. We have dwelt indeed more on the danger of movements to strengthen and consolidate the slave power than on that of the northern abolition movements, because we have for years dwelt on the latter, and because we think it always the part of wisdom to guard first against the danger that is nearest and most pressing. The nearest and most pressing danger is that of converting the party which in the ate election supported Colonel Fremont into a strictly anti-slavery party, and this can be guarded against by.no efforts so to extend and strengthen the slave power as to secure to it the administration. All efforts of that sort will tend only to precipitate the danger, for it is precisely against such extending and strengthening of the slave power that that party is organized. The moment the United States bank entered the arena of politics and attempted to obtain a power too strong for the government to resist, although apparently in self-defense, its doom was sealed, because the people, moved by an instinct of freedom, would not suffer the existence of a moneyed power outside of the government strong enough to control it. It will be the same with slavery. Its safety depends on its weakness, not in having or in appearing to have the power to shape the policy of the government. It has reached the extent of its power, and to seek to make it more powerful, is precisely to excite a more determined hostility to it, and a hostility that under no circumstances it will become strong enough to subdue. If slavery, where it exists, cannot find security without governing the Union, it will not be permitted to exist in the Union at all. It must never be forgotten that slavery is repugnant to the moral sense of the civilized world. It belongs to a past age, to the heathen rather than the Christian republic, and no free state will consent to place the interest of slave labor on a par with the interest of free labor. The thing is not to be thought of. To administer the government in the interest of the free laboring classes is wise and just, in harmony with the best and strongest spirit of modern times; to administer it solely in the interest of capital, especially when that capital consists of slaves, human beings, men like ourselves, descended from the same stock, and redeemed by the same God become man, is repugnant to that spirit, and to the uniform tendencies of our holy religion. Such is the fact, war against it as yon will. It is, then, in vain that you brand as aggressive any constitutional action of the government intended to affect favorably the interests of free labor, or claim in the name of equal rights a like action in favor of slave labor. The equality in the case is not and will not be conceded, for freedom is the natural right of every man, and slavery its abridgment by positive law. In the case of free labor the law must be interpreted liberally in its favor; in the case of slave labor it innst be construed strictly, and favor as little as possible the owner of that labor. The policy of the law is to favor freedom and to restrict slavery. This being the case, free labor may develop and expand itself anywhere and to any extent not prohibited ; slave labor only where and to the extent authorized by positive law. There is no aggression on the rights of slave labor in seeking to keep slavery out of all territory now free, while there is a direct aggression on free labor in seeking to subject that territory to the slave interest, for in all cases slavery is the abridgment of the natural rights of man. Hence the efforts of the South to expand her system of slave labor against free labor, where free labor has not been by law deprived of its natural freedom, will be counted a positive aggression and resisted as such. Therefore we maintain that the security of slave property consists in its not attempting to extend or strengthen itself beyond its present limits, and in submitting without resistance to the free and full development of free labor within its constitutional bounds. To do otherwise were to provoke a contest in which slave labor would be deprived of all its rights, even where it now has rights. Any man who knows the country and is capable of putting two ideas together cannot fail to see and admit this. We, therefore, regret the policy shadowed forth in the Cincinnati platform, which, under pretense of non-intervention by congress in the question of slavery, contemplates in reality the strengthening of slavery by the addition of new slave territory not as yet within the limits of the Union. The Ostend conference, the emphasis laid on the so-called "Monroe doctrine," the obvious wish on the part of bur late minister to England to break up the Clayton-TJulwer treaty, and the filibustering clauses of the Cincinnati platform taken in connection with Walker's movements in Central America, the effort made by General Quitman and others in congress for the repeal of the neutrality laws, and the advocacy at the South of the revival of the African slave trade, all indicate a policy, the character of which it is impossible to mistake. The policy is not to press the extension of slavery in my of the present territory of the “Union now free, but to indemnify the slave interest by annexing, at the earliest practicable moment, Cuba, Central America, and Mexico as slave states. This will give the South the predominance in the Union, or at least afford her security against any growth or expansion of the free states. The national greediness for territorial aggrandizement, the filibustering spirit now so rife, the speculators now so numerous in all sections of the Union, the strength of the existing slave interest, the love of democracy of the American people, and their confidence in their manifest destiny, it has been supposed would, all combined, secure the adoption of this policy against all possible opposition. It would now seem that the plan is, in the first place, by the aid of the filibusters, transit companies, or other corporations and speculators, to organize Mexico and Central America into a great Anglo-Saxon republic, as a duplicate of our own. In the beginning, in order not to excite the hostility of Great Britain and France, it will be organized ostensibly for the purpose of interposing a barrier to the further progress of the Union to the South. It contemplates, we presume, adding to this southern republic California and all the territory of the Union west of the Rocky Mountains, and as many of the southern states as choose to secede, and aid in forming a slaveholding republic. But ultimately it is to be joined to the present Union, so as to extend the Union over the whole North American continent, together with the West India Islands. A grand scheme, we admit, and one which we do not doubt is seriously entertained by men who are not yet in a madhouse. Even were this policy practicable, it should be opposed by every patriot, every friend of morality, by every man who has the least regard for national honor. The true policy of this country is undoubtedly to prevent Cuba from passing into the hands of a first-class European power, but not to take possession of it ourselves, even if we could do so with the consent of Spain herself. It would add nothing to our strength, and in fact as an outlying post, incapable, in case of war with a great European power, of defending itself, would much extend and weaken our system of military defenses. In regard to Central America, through which lies one of the great highways of the future commerce of the world, all we want is that it should not be held by a power able to close that highway to us. Of course; we cannot consent to let Great Britain, France, or Russia have possession of that highway, and for the same reason we can never suffer to grow up a rival power, AngloSaxon or not, able to dispute with us the transit across the isthmus. These are fixed points in our national policy, which we shall maintain, if need be, with the whole moral and material force of the Union. But beyond we need nothing. A free transit across the isthmus for our commerce we demand, and we shall do our best to exclude the settlement of any power there strong enough to deny it to us. Our interest requires nothing more, and this interest would exclude the grand Walker empire just now talked about, as much as it would England or France. The policy of our government has never gone, and we much doubt if it will go any further. General Pierce came into power with certain filibuster proclivities, and his foreign appointments were all such as to create the impression that he intended to pursue a policy of territorial aggrandizement. But events proved too strong for him, or experience soon taught him a sounder policy. He has succeeded in giving his administration, with a few exceptions, the right position in regard to foreign powers; the end of his government has well-nigh retrieved the errors of its beginning, and we regret ‘that he is not to be at the head of the administration for the next four years, unless Mr. Marcy be retained as secretary of state. But whatever may have been Mr. Buchanan's views at the Ostend conference, or as minister to England, we cannot believe he will aim at more in regard to Cuba or Central America, than simply to carry out as occasion may require, and as he has power, the so-called "Monroe doctrine,'' and this much even we should insist upon. The free transit across the isthmus for our commerce is necessary to enable us to keep up the balance of the New World with the Old. Great Britain is not at present ambitious of extending her power in the New World. She has turned her attention to the East, and hopes to monopolize the trade of entire Asia. She is aiming at the commerce of the Black Sea, and to gain a position in Sicily and also on the Persian Gulf, so as to check Russian advances towards India, and to neutralize France in Africa, Syria, and Egypt, and by means of the Euphrates railroad, and a railroad, or a canal, if she can control it, across the Isthmus of Suez, to place Asia in competition with America. This is the only way in which she can maintain herself for any great length of time against our commercial rivalry. We can meet her policy only by a ship canal across the Isthmus of Central America, and a railroad through our own territory to the Pacific Ocean enabling us to compete advantageously with her in eastern Asia. Great Britain having turned her attention eastward, and being likely for some time to come to have her hands full with France and Russia, whom in the late war she adroitly played off one against the other, our filibusters seem to fancy that there is a chance of founding, by aid of the slave interest, a southern republic unconnected with the free states of this Union, and of securing the commercial advantages to which Central America is the key. Hence the opposition of the South to the Pacific railroad, unless it is made so far South as to come within what is intended to be the southern republic. But this southern republic is a dream that will never be realized. The whole power of the federal government in the hands of the free states, will be exerted, if necessary, to prevent it. Those southern states, not yet within the limits of the Union will, if they change their present condition, be annexed to our confederacy. No matter what the journals may say. No administration will favor or suffer such a republic independent of the Union. To the annexation of these states there are several weighty objections. One is that we have no right to them, and cannot do it without tarnishing our national honor. Another reason is, the South will oppose their annexation unless they are annexed as slave states, and to their annexation as slave states the North will never consent, and the North is wrought up to that degree of heat, and is so confident of its .strength, that it will have its way. It counts its late defeat a victory, and it will yield hereafter to slavery nothing not contained in the bond. In all the Spanish American republics slavery has been abolished, and we shall never consent to take the retrograde step of reestablishing it. The progress of the whole civilized world since the introduction of Christianity has been towards the abolition of slavery. To reestablish it where it has been abolished is to take a step backwards towards barbarism and paganism. It would be a fine compliment to American democracy to say that wherever it extends it carries slavery with it. It will do very well for our southern "fire caters" to tell us slavery is the basis of freedom, and the cement of the Union, but no man of ordinary intelligence and right feeling can be expected to believe it. The states in question may ultimately be annexed to the Union, but not till they can be annexed as free states. Some of the slave states may threaten secession, and may even take measures to secede; but they will soon be glad enough to return, for if they secede they will leave the Union behind them, and by no means carry it with them. We have confidence that this grand filibuster and annexation scheme will find no favor with the incoming administration. The true policy for us towards our Spanish American neighbors is to respect their rights as independent states, to suppress all invasions of them by our citizens, to protect them, aid them to recover from their internal distractions, and stimulate them by our trade and good offices to maintain well ordered governments, and to develop their internal resources. In this way we shall best promote both their interest and our own. At any rate, the incoming administration must put clown filibustering. Filibusters are simply freebooters, pirates, thieves, robbers, murderers, and it is anything but creditable to us, that they are able to awaken the sympathies of a people like the American. They are corrupt and corrupting, and already have they had a most deleterious effect on both the public and private conscience of large masses of our citizens. No doubt they have gained sympathy chiefly because they have given themselves out as the soldiers,—irregular soldiers it may be,—but the soldiers of liberty. Walker's conduct in Nicaragua in revoking the decree abolishing slavery, and practicing the most cruel despotism, strips them of that mask, and they will henceforth, we hope, be held in the horror and detestation they deserve. Some things more we had intended to say, but we have said enough. We have written for the purpose of throwing out a few suggestions which we hope the incoming administration will regard as- those of a friend and not an enemy, but as those of one who loves truth and justice even more than the material interests of his country, and his country more than party, and who asks nothing of any administration for himself. Wiser suggestions may be made: none more honest or disinterested will be offered. We follow no party lead; we go with party as far as it goes with us, and no further. We reluctantly voted against Col. Fremont, for we feared the influence of the abolition leaders who surrounded him, but we are as loath to support a southern as a northern sectional party, and though we voted for Mr. Buchanan, we will support him only so far as he proves himself a Union president.