Columbus Daily Capital City Fact, May 18, 1861
For more than half a century the North has voluntarily borne the self-imposed burden inseparable from an almost nationalized system of involuntary servitude, for the sole purpose of fostering and protecting Southern slavery and encouraging Southern taskmasters in the commission of the licentious acts which have led to the present sad state of affairs. "Give us our rights," incessantly cries the South; while the North, perplexed to conceive what rights have been withheld, modestly steps back and invites her hot-blooded sisters to help themselves to whatever may suit their petulent cravings. But generosity and forbearance are not what the visionary autocrats of the plantation want. They seek to enslave and humble the North at the shrine of their ideal Slave Oligarchy. Through the conciliation and forbearance of the North the slave power has advanced from one position to another, never losing ground, but establishing itself at each successive point more impregnably than before, until it has us at an advantage that encourages it to demand the surrender of Northern rights, Northern honor, Northern self-respect, and even the Union of these States! Modest chivalry!—magnanimous South! What event in our annals is there that Slavery has not set her brand upon to mark it as her own? NONE! And yet, to cap the climax of her dastardly impudence; she points her guns at the Goddess of Liberty, and demands the surrender of the heaven-defended Union. The demand is too preposterous for sober consideration, too serious for merriment, too ridiculous for levity, too insane for mirth.
Treason, that was once whispered in the secret chamber of council, is now proclaimed upon the house tops; what was once done by indirection and guile is now carried high-handed, in open day, at the mouth of the cannon. Deep-dyed, dark and damnable villainy, that once prowled in darkness and secrecy, now stalks the streets with a bold face of honesty. Anarchy has clothed itself in Executive habiliments, and the great powers of the globe are impudently requested to recognize slavery as a divine institution and piracy as a legitimate calling. Doctrines and designs which a few years since could find no mouthpiece out of a barroom or the piratical den of a fillibuster, are now clothed with power and importance by the authentic response of JEFF. DAVISES in the South and GEO. MANYPENNYS In the North. Treason is rampant, rebellion respectable, peculation honorable, assassination rewarded and murder legalized. All this, and more, that slavery may be perpetuated and freedom throttled.
But Oligarchy is nothing new in the world—neither is Tyranny. The government of the many by the few is the rule, and not the exception, in the politics of the times that have been and are now. "Labor cannot compete with capital and it shall not" has been proclaimed and carried out in our own community by one of JEFF. DAVIS' willing dupes and contemptible demagogues. Free labor shall not compete with capital, but it shall succumb to an equality with serfdom under the bloody lash of the task-master. We are destined to accept the law that coarse and sordid Oligarchy may vouchsafe, or fight again the battle for freedom. We accept the sword, its unerring point directed at the heart of treason.
And who are these resplendent lights that have arisen in the dark horizon of the nineteenth century to teach us that liberty is a lie and honest labor disreputable? What book has the South ever given to the libraries of the world? What work of art has she added to its galleries? What artist has she produced that did not instinctively fly from a region where genius could not breathe? What statesmen has she reared (aside from JEFFERSON and MADISON) save those who have taught that slavery is the corner-stone and vital element of freedom? What divines, excepting those who preach slavery and it crucified? What moralists, except the originators of such sentiments as are designed to humble the poor and elevate the rich? What are the products of her labor, if we except quadroons and cotton? Answer these questions satisfactorily to yourself, and you satisfy us. And are we, the people of the only free government on God's footstool, who broke the sceptre of King GEORGE and set our feet on the supremacy of the British Parliament, to surrender ourselves, bound hand and foot in the bonds of our own weaving, into the hands of this despicable and detestable Oligarchy? In heaven's name, No! Not while we have blood to spill, or a strong right arm with which to defend the flag of the free, will we permit the erasure of one stripe or the dimming of one star belonging to its soul-inspiring folds.
There never was a time when the relations of the North and the South, as complicated by slavery, were so well understood and so deeply resented as now. In fields, in farm houses, in workshops, and in the tented camp, there is a spirit aroused which can never be silenced or exorcised till it has done its task. The insults so long heaped upon the North by the South begin to be felt, and the torpid giant moves uneasily beneath his mountain-load of indignities. Within the South, as now self-circumstanced, are the elements of its own disintegration, and there is nothing in mortal power that can save her from her courted fate. The South is doomed, and with it slavery. Chatteldom of man will cease in another generation, and the next century will not dawn on a human slave. It may be sooner that the commerce in flesh and blood will cease. It may be that righteous insurrection among the poor, deluded white population of the South will accomplish their release from worse than chattel thraldom, and thus incite the blacks to—which God forbid—servile insurrection and freedom gained through the blood of their enslavers. It may be that Southern task masters will be fell upon by their slaves and massacreed with revolting barbarity; that harmless women and children will be murdered, and houses burnt, and rapine committed, and slaves free themselves through the consternation of a horrible revelry that devils incarnate might have delighted in. Such scenes have taken place in India, and the Southern slave is not less a Christian than the Hindoo or the Mahomedan .
We bid the South beware of three calamities—Northern fanaticism, Southern slavery, and the vengeance of an outraged and insulted God. There are elements in the North that cannot be brought under the control of the Federal arm, and their aim is deep and terrible revenge. That servile insurrection in the South will follow close upon the first gun fired against the friends of Liberty and the Union, it were idle waste of words to hope against. In your rebellious zeal you have sown the wind that you may reap the tornado, whose tracks will be blood—blood—blood!