The Reason Why
Philadelphia Morning Pennsylvanian, February 9, 1861
Great stress is laid, by the Republican party, upon the fact that the Border States are less sensitive to the aggressions of the North than the Cotton States, although the Border States lose ten fugitive or stolen slaves where the Cotton States lose one. That the non-fulfilment of the fugitive slave law and the enactment of personal liberty bills by the Northern States, most injuriously affect the Border States; and that, therefore, the extreme sensibility should be on the part of the Border States. From this, the Republican leaders attempt to draw the inference, that the earlier secession by the Cotton States, is for cause other than anti-slavery aggression. By such uncandid statements and arguments have the minds of many thousand honest men in the North been prejudiced. We propose to correct this great error.
If the non-execution of the fugitive slave law, or the operations of the under-ground railroad were the only causes of complaint, there would be great force in the charge against the Cotton States.
But we assert, most distinctly, that were these the only causes for complaint by the South, or were they the chief ones, then neither the Cotton States nor the Border States would find secession the only remedy. The greater sensibility of the Cotton States arises from the fact that the negroes form a larger proportion of their whole population than they do in the Border States; that while in these last every day diminishes the proportion of negroes, in the Cotton States this proportion menacingly increases. That the aggressive action of the free States in restricting slavery within the existing slave States, presents the following certain future to the Cotton States.
The negroes in their midst, already alarming to prudence, will be augmented not only by a natural increase, but also by the flow of those now in the Border States, while the white population will be steadily drained, until the submerging of the whites by the negroes would be their inevitable fate.
This differing condition of the border and cotton States is of itself sufficient cause for the greater sensibility and greater watchfulness of the latter.
Yet in addition to these causes, enough of themselves to render any people sensitive, there stand revealed other alarming causes.
A sectional party is formed upon principles which necessarily exclude all whose interests are in the slave States. This party has exclusive control of the government of every Northern State, including their treasuries and their militia organizations, as well as of the Federal Government, with its army and navy, and with a tenfold more numerous army of civilians, studded in every corner of the slave as of the free States, all moved by one harmonious power.
This most formidable party avows the purpose of forever excluding slaves from territory, thus putting the cotton States in a position in which the public mind will feel certain that the condition of the whites in those States will be an assured process of submersion by the blacks.
Besides which, the President elect has declared that slavery must be put where "the public mind will feel satisfied that it is in a process of extinction."
Governor SEWARD, his Premier, has said, that "the election of LINCOLN is the downfall of slavery." He also said in his speech on his return from Europe, that no man henceforth must be sent a minister to Europe who will dare to vindicate the slave States—none but their slanderers are to be sent to Europe. A slaveholder is by him in that speech degraded as an unfit and unworthy representative of his whole country. The HELPER book, which Gov. SEWARD, in his written letter says he has carefully read and approved, is made the text book of the party. WEED, GREELEY, MORGAN and others, in a special card, recommended the circulation of this book in the free States, "as being morally certain to cause the passing away of slavery and the triumph of the Republican party in 1860." Many hundred thousand copies of this book, the sum of all villainies, were most industriously circulated to poison the Northern mind. The immense sympathy shown by leading men and assemblages for JOHN BROWN. Senator WILSON, claiming to have slavery under the Republican heel, and the purpose to keep it there as long as there was a slave. LINCOLN bidding defiance to the DRED Scott decision; other leading men threatening to augment the judges on the Supreme bench by men of a character, who will record as constitutional the infamous edicts of the Republican party.
The claim made to establish Abolition journals throughout the South, to bring about emancipation, and the right also, through the United States Post Office, to disseminate insurrectionary matter, and that the Republican Government would sustain the claim. SUMNER'S "Barbarisms of Slavery," was also made a text-book, and as a reward and the expression of her approval of his sentiments, Massachusetts again elected him Senator.
Every man who received popular favor was eminent for bitterest denunciations of Southern Institutions; this and this alone was the passport to Republican favor. We might swell to a volume the teeming and conclusive evidence of a mortal hatred to the institutions and the people of the Cotton States, by the dominant portion of the Republican party, including its ferocious, infidel clergy.
When we can verge to a focus all the hostile actions and threats of the Republican party against slavery and slaveholders—and bear in mind that this party, fairly in power, would have the ability to execute its threats—there can be no cause of wonder for the extreme sensibility of the Cotton States and of their taking the earliest and most efficient means to escape the dreaded calamities. Too weak to contend in the Union with this Anti-slavery boa constrictor, their only chance of escape is in getting beyond its reach, or by the interposition of some Constitutional barrier sufficiently strong to stay it in its purpose until time shall remove these bitter prejudices and restore ancient kindly feeling. Let only such as in similar circumstances would act more coolly condemn the hot haste of secession.