Dipping Up the Atlantic with a Spoon

New York Evening Day-Book, January 24, 1861

The most imaginary thing, to us, in these abnormal and unhealthy times, is the stupendous empiricisms that are proffered on every head to "save the Union," and the wide-spread, almost boundless, display of tomfoolism that is exhibited in every direction. The nation is sick—sick unto death—not with natural disease, for it never was better, but from a purely fancied disorder—a thing of the imagination; in short, a mental delusion, but it may, nevertheless, prove fatal. We have in our midst four millions of negroes, men, it is true, but different and inferior men, who are in a social position in accord with the nature God has given them, and that is best adapted to our own welfare. The presence of these negroes—the relation they bear to the white citizenship—the products of their labor—in short, the tout ensemble of what, by an absurd misnomer, is called slavery, is one of the happiest things that has ever occurred in human affairs. The negroes themselves embody more of good, happiness, well-being, than could occur to that race in a million of years, while as regards ourselves, it has given origin to such men as Washington, Jefferson, Jackson, Calhoun, Benton, &c., and secured liberty to the white laboring classes; in short, we repeat, this thing, this so-called slavery, is at this moment the most natural, healthy, beneficent, and, in its consequences, the most desirable thing that has existed in human affairs. But a theory is set up that it is an evil to keep negroes in a subordinate position, and consequently a good to "abolish" this condition, and force these negroes into the position of the white man; indeed, a party has sprung up that assumes he is a white man—a Caucasian—a creature like ourselves, except in color, and it proposes to use the government for reducing this theory to practice, not by direct interference with the States, but by penning up this population within existing limits, and thus force the citizenship of the South to abolish their supremacy over their negroes. This, then, is the national disease—this monstrous delusion that fancies negroes are white men, and that would destroy the life of the nation in its mad efforts to carry out its theory—its stupid, impious, disgusting and obscene idea of negro "freedom."

Now, what should be done to cure this disease, to explode this delusion, to abolish this madness, and indeed to punish this monstrous treason to the white man, this abhorrent impiety to God? Why, enlighten the people—demonstrate to them that white is white and black is black—that the negro is a negro and is not a white man—that he is in his natural position of social subordination, and therefore the man or the party that seeks to thrust him into the position of the white man, to use this Government to force negroes into the position of white men, or "impartial freedom," deserves the execration of posterity, and will be doomed to everlasting infamy. But what do we witness? Why, every conceivable quackery and tomfoolery to delude the people still further and more hopelessly. Even the Jews are called in to prescribe in this momentous affair. Dr. Raphall, in a learned lecture, has shown that the Jews had slavery as well as polygamy, and other barbarous customs, four thousand years ago, and respectable and otherwise intelligent citizens listen to this as if it offered a solution for the wide-spread delusion about negroes that threatens to destroy the Republic. What a strange delusion has taken possession of even the opponents of delusion! Why not grapple at once with the stupendous folly that is sweeping over the land? Why not summon up the manhood to declare that this is a republic of white men, and negroes are in their normal condition, before it is "too late?"