Compendium of the Impending Crisis of the South

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9781537120386: Compendium of the Impending Crisis of the South

A review from The North American Review, Vol. 89 [1859]
We took up this volume with very great interest, on learning that the author was a native of the South, and a slaveholder's son; for we felt that he, from his peculiar position, might obtain a candid hearing in behalf of human freedom from those who would be deaf to a Northern voice. But we confess ourselves disappointed. The book is self-neutralizing. It embodies strong arguments against slavery with precisely the kind of rhetoric which will render them unavailing where they are needed. The economical bearing and results of slave labor, as compared with free labor, are here exhibited with an amplitude and precision which we have not seen approached elsewhere. In addition to a very able and thorough verbal statement of the whole case at issue, we have a series of tables, in which the numerical statistics of the free and the slave States — bushels, pounds, and dollars — are collated from confessedly authentic, and for the most part official, sources of information. On such a subject, arguments based on figures rightfully hold a second place only to those urged on moral and religious grounds, while practically, we fear, they are paramount to higher considerations. Had Mr. Helper confined himself to these statistical comparisons, his book would have been impregnable in its reasonings, and could hardly have failed of exerting a powerful influence on his own side of the great question. But the-effect of his statements is vitiated by the frequent use of terms of opprobrium and contempt for his opponents, and by the suggestion of modes of action impossible in the very nature of things, and, in our view, unjustifiable were they possible. He appeals to the non-slaveholding majority of the white population of the South, and urges upon them a distinct organization, whose watchwords shall be non-intercourse and proscription as to all the supporters of slavery. This plan would be impracticable, inasmuch as the major part of those to whom the appeal is addressed are directly dependent on slaveholders, and would be driven to starvation were they to assume this hostile attitude. But were such a proceeding practicable, we have grave objections to it, as involving a disruption of social ties and obligations among neighbors and fellow-citizens, and creating a condition of things which would be attended with all the rancor and malignity of civil war. If slavery is ever to be abolished, (and we doubt not it will be.) it must be first modified, and then abrogated, by the action of those immediately connected with the institution; and they can be moved in this direction only by their conviction of the impolicy or the wrongfulness of their present position. Whatever can tend to produce such conviction we cordially welcome. Emancipation, as fast and as soon as it can be thus effected, will be an unspeakable blessing to our country and our race. Emancipation forced (were it possible, which it is not) upon an unconvinced and recalcitrant body of slaveholders, would leave the enslaved to all the disabilities and wrongs of serfdom, without the protection now largely extended to them by the sentiments of humanity and the considerations of interest involved in the relation of ownership.

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Book Description Createspace Independent Publishing Platform, United States, 2016. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.A review from The North American Review, Vol. 89 [1859]We took up this volume with very great interest, on learning that the author was a native of the South, and a slaveholder s son; for we felt that he, from his peculiar position, might obtain a candid hearing in behalf of human freedom from those who would be deaf to a Northern voice. But we confess ourselves disappointed. The book is self-neutralizing. It embodies strong arguments against slavery with precisely the kind of rhetoric which will render them unavailing where they are needed. The economical bearing and results of slave labor, as compared with free labor, are here exhibited with an amplitude and precision which we have not seen approached elsewhere. In addition to a very able and thorough verbal statement of the whole case at issue, we have a series of tables, in which the numerical statistics of the free and the slave States bushels, pounds, and dollars are collated from confessedly authentic, and for the most part official, sources of information. On such a subject, arguments based on figures rightfully hold a second place only to those urged on moral and religious grounds, while practically, we fear, they are paramount to higher considerations. Had Mr. Helper confined himself to these statistical comparisons, his book would have been impregnable in its reasonings, and could hardly have failed of exerting a powerful influence on his own side of the great question. But the-effect of his statements is vitiated by the frequent use of terms of opprobrium and contempt for his opponents, and by the suggestion of modes of action impossible in the very nature of things, and, in our view, unjustifiable were they possible. He appeals to the non-slaveholding majority of the white population of the South, and urges upon them a distinct organization, whose watchwords shall be non-intercourse and proscription as to all the supporters of slavery. This plan would be impracticable, inasmuch as the major part of those to whom the appeal is addressed are directly dependent on slaveholders, and would be driven to starvation were they to assume this hostile attitude. But were such a proceeding practicable, we have grave objections to it, as involving a disruption of social ties and obligations among neighbors and fellow-citizens, and creating a condition of things which would be attended with all the rancor and malignity of civil war. If slavery is ever to be abolished, (and we doubt not it will be.) it must be first modified, and then abrogated, by the action of those immediately connected with the institution; and they can be moved in this direction only by their conviction of the impolicy or the wrongfulness of their present position. Whatever can tend to produce such conviction we cordially welcome. Emancipation, as fast and as soon as it can be thus effected, will be an unspeakable blessing to our country and our race. Emancipation forced (were it possible, which it is not) upon an unconvinced and recalcitrant body of slaveholders, would leave the enslaved to all the disabilities and wrongs of serfdom, without the protection now largely extended to them by the sentiments of humanity and the considerations of interest involved in the relation of ownership. Bookseller Inventory # APC9781537120386

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