The Tribune, a day or two since, suggested a compromise of the Slavery controversy quite unique in its character, to say the least. It had the merit of being quite certain to exasperate the South, and to encounter the stern hostility of the North,—and thus was in perfect harmony with the Tribune‘s position, that no compromise on this subject can ever be made. Our neighbor proposes the purchase of the slaves in Delaware and Maryland, together with those of the States west of the Mississippi, including Louisiana, by the Federal Government. It is supposed that these States now contain about 600,000 slaves, and that the owners would do well to sell them for $100,000,000. We think that our cotemporary underrates both the number of the slaves and the price the owners would be willing to take for them. But supposing these points adjusted, why select these particular States as the objects of Federal bounty? Does the Tribune contemplate the secession of the remaining States? Nothing could be more abhorrent to them than this policy of surrounding them with a cordon of emancipated slaves. The South cries aloud against being inclosed by States filled with free white men, and the impression which must be made upon them by the proposition to hem them in by emancipated slaves, may be more easily imagined than described.

If Virginia, Kentucky and the States South of them shall follow the example of South Carolina, it may then become a question worthy of consideration, whether the retention of the States north of the Federal capital, and west of the Mississippi, on the terms suggested by the Tribune, may not be preferable to embarking in a civil war; but as an original proposition of compromise and conciliation it strikes us as being admirably calculated to defeat the end proposed.

We do not believe that it is either just or wise to introduce into the discussions of the, day any schemes for the abolition of Slavery. It must be distinctly understood that we of the North have nothing to do with that subject,—that we propose no Congressional action upon it,—but that we regard it as exclusively under the jurisdiction and control of the Slaveholding States. We have a right, doubtless, to suggest for their consideration measures which we think would renew their loyalty, promote their interests and secure their safety; but even this should be done in a friendly spirit and without needlessly disturbing their fears or their pride.

In the exercise of this right, we have more than once called attention to the obvious duty and policy of the South in regard to Slavery. We have admitted the impossibility and the folly of the immediate abolition of Slavery, and pointed out the ruin certain to flow from the sudden release of four millions of ignorant slaves from the dependence and control of masters, to whose care they have been accustomed for generations to look for the means of subsistence. We believe that the negro is susceptible of civilization, and capable of self-support; but time will be necessary to prepare him for these responsibilities. Slavery, by compelling him to labor, has ingrained into him the seeds and roots of civilization; but that arbitrary system, as it has heretofore existed in this country, by denying mental culture, and every other right, is utterly inconsistent with the development of the germ which compulsory labor has thus planted.

The South cannot hold itself guiltless, nor be at peace with the world, nor rest secure in its position, while Slavery remains what it is. The great need of the South is a modification and amelioration of her system of Slavery. We believe that there is not a people under the sun, enlightened, civilized, barbarous or savage, except the slaves of the South, among whom matrimony is not a lawful institution. But with a majority of the people of South Carolina and Mississippi, and with a third of the aggregate population of the Northern Slave States, this fundamental basis of all Christian as well as heathen society, has no existence. There is no law for the marriage of slaves. The union of the sexes, whether long or short, may be severed at any time at the will of the master. This state of things is simply monstrous. It would be a compliment to style it barbarous or even savage; since the comparison would imply that it was no worse than what prevails in other parts of the world. Southern men have admitted the enormity of the evil, and that a remedy should be applied; but from year to year the monstrosity is tolerated, and no one proposes a remedy. Families are separated and their members sold on the auction block, without mercy and without shame.

Here, then, is a great reform needed, which, if adopted, would go far to soften the just indignation of the world against a people who tolerate such a crime against human nature. The marriage of slaves should be put on the same footing with that of white people; and it should be made a high crime to separate husband and wife, or parents and young children. This regulation would not interfere with the leading purpose of Slavery, which is compulsory labor. Neither would it prevent, though it might regulate, the transfer or sale of slaves from one proprietor to another; which would seem to be an essential part of the system.

Slaves should be allowed to learn to read, and for this purpose they should have the whole of Sunday guaranteed to them, and encouraged to go to Sunday Schools, subject to efficient police regulation.

They should be allowed to hold property, and be encouraged to invest their earnings in Savings Banks or otherwise, with the privilege of purchasing their freedom, if proved or judged capable of improving it, at a fair valuation. No State would suffer by tolerating such self-emancipated slaves on its soil, but if prejudices should remain invincible on this subject, emigration to Liberia, or to some tropical colony, might be made a condition of emancipation.

Now we have nothing to propose on this subject. It is one with which the Federal Government has no right to interfere,—nor would we advise or countenance any interference with it except on the application of the States interested, or with the sole intent of aiding them in such steps as they might volunteer to take in this direction. But if the Federal Government is to spend money at all in this matter, it should be done to ameliorate, rather than to abolish, the Slavery of the Southern States. Suppose the Government were to pay twenty-five dollars per slave in stocks of the National Government, to the authorities of each Slaveholding State which should inaugurate a system embodying the reforms to which we have referred,—not for distribution among the slaveholders, but as an Educational and Reform Fund, to be invested in internal improvements, including under that head the drainage of swamp-lands; as well as the construction of railroads and canals. The slaveholders, as the proprietors of the soil, would be enriched by the improvements, while all classes would reap benefits from them and from the unsurpassed educational advantages which so large a fund would secure.

The slave population of the South, by the census of last year, will not exceed four millions; and twenty-five dollars per head would amount to one hundred millions or thereabouts. To this sum might be added ten or twenty millions, by way of facilitating the collection of slaves into families, if that should be thought feasible, as it certainly is desirable. In many cases the husband and wife are owned by different parties, neither of whom would be able to purchase the slave of the other; and where this occurs the Government of the State might interfere with a loan or a small gratuity, by way of effecting a sale from one to another, or from each to a third party. Every Southern man is aware of the multiplicity of these cases, and the evils they entail upon Slavery. Thousands of families are thus separated by distances of three to twenty miles, in all parts of the South. In general, the father sees his family, if not more than seven or ten miles from his master’s house, once a week; at greater distances his visits are on[c]e or twice a month; and there are cases in which the family union takes place only once or twice a year. Then the removal of either master to another State or district entirely breaks the family tie of the slave. These scattered families might be brought together, when the law should interpose to prevent the formation of others like them. The owners of female slaves are interested in their early marriage, and it should be made a condition that the parties united should have a common owner and a common home.

Slavery thus modified and ameliorated would become a very tolerable system, and would deserve the title of patriarchal which its friends claim for it. We think the Government of this great country could well afford to pay one hundred and thirty or forty millions of dollars for the sake of effecting reforms which are as essential to its good name abroad as to the cause of peace, justice and humanity at home.

We repeat that we have no thought of pressing these, or any other measures of interference with Slavery, upon the Federal Government. We make these suggestions merely to show that there are ways out of the Slavery troubles very different from those urged either by Abolitionists or by Pro-Slavery zealots. And if the time should ever come when the great mass of reflecting men in both sections can take up this question as one of practical statesmanship, instead of sectional controversy, there will be very little difficulty in adjusting it upon such a basis as shall command general assent at home and the respect of the world abroad. If the South should at once enter frankly and cordially upon the grand career of amelioration and reform, instead of finding foes at the North, they would find the whole country much more ready to grant encouragement, aid and support than they would be to ask it.