صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

fathers to produce for themselves, either their own apparel, or the instruments of their labor, were, by English enactment, made a kind of colonial nuisance, and punished as a class of misdemeanors, against the peace and dignity of the crown. The patriots of those, like the patriots of these times, resolved, and never abandoned the resolution, to labor, as they might choose, either at the plough, the loom, or the sail. This conflict of policy, this effort in the colonies for moral and physical independence, and that British arrogance of dominion over the wants, and necessities of our ancestors, produced the revolutionary conflict. Moral and physical, not political independence, moved that great question. The tax on tea was incidental to more deep and weighty argument; but not otherwise the moving cause than the lighted linstock that explodes the shell, which, in its course, carries terror and desolation through a beleagued city.

"It was in support of this independence, that the whigs of the North and South first united. Here the Adamses, Hancocks, Otises, and Warrens, of New-England, met, and mingled their toil and their blood, with the Pinckneys, the Haynes, the Lawrences, and Sumpters of South Carolina. On this ground, too, Greene, from the North, met, and re-united the scattered array of Southern war.

"Where now is the patriotism of those times? Do we in these Halls, hear its voice, exhorting to re-union, and cheering to associated effort? Is it not drowned in the angry roar of that torrent of malediction, which for so many days has been poured down from the stormy South, on the devoted region of NewEngland? Where, Sir, is the spirit of the Revolution? Does it still live in our country? Sir, it did not expire with Lowndes; it did not, when deserted by his associate, abandon his lovely land of the sun. Men still live in that patriotic region, who make no compromise on questions of liberty and independence ; and who will never barter either, with any nation, for the poor privilege of selling their cotton at a better bargain.”

The amendment proposed by Mr. McDuffie, he considered as opposed, in all its forms, to the American System. In the speech made by Mr. McDuffie upon his amendment, he alleged

that the effects of that System were, to reduce the market price of cotton and tobacco; to compel the growers of those products to pay more than their just proportion of the revenue; to secure a bounty to the sugar-making, grain-growing, and manufacturing States, on their products; to deprive the South of their natural market, the market of England. Mr. Burges took an enlarged view of these several allegations; and by arguments plain and practical, and details minute and exact, he proved them to be untenable, and opposed to the real facts connected with the question. He then runs the doctrine of bounties out into all its branches; not believing in its soundness; and demonstrates that the South has no cause to complain of its operations. Numerous other objections to the protective policy are refuted; and all the principles advocated by the friends of Free Trade, condemned.

"Sir, let our whole country adopt this policy, this English system, and from that time we are to England what Poland is to the other nations of Europe. The West will not do this; the North will not do this. Do it who may, New-England will not. So long as one soldier of "75 lives on our hills, or one soldier's dust sleeps in a grave on our battle-fields; so long as the Fourth of July is a day in the Christian calender, NewEngland will not. By the souls of those men who fell at Lexington, and Bunker Hill, and Bennington, now beatified by redeeming mercy, New-England will not chain herself to the wheels of this odious System.

"Will the South, the generous, the warm-hearted, the patriotic South, do this? Will they leave us? plant their fields, that British royalty may reap their toil? be tributaries, that a few demagogues may wear stars on the shoulder, or garters at the knee? When such a spirit is abroad in their land, will they not question it?

Be it a spirit of health, or goblin damn'd,

Bring with it airs from Heaven, or blasts from hell,

Be its intents wicked, or charitable,

It comes in such a questionable shape,

That they will speak to it.'

"South Carolina, of all these States once most devoted to this Union, go if thou wilt. Leave this brotherhood of republics, this home of equality in the new world, for alienage in the old, and secondary rights and honors with European royalty. Provide for thyself other relations; alliance with England! The union will be Sicyon with Macedonia; Aratus, the Republican with Antigonus the King. When his beloved city was filled with foreign soldiers, when he beheld the family of his darling son dishonored, and felt the poison circulating in his veins, ‘such,' said the dying patriot to his weeping friend, ‘such, Cephalon, are the fruits of royal friendship.' Alliance with England! No matter by what name this connexion is known to politicians in South Carolina, it will be deemed by all free men in other lands, the lion and the lion's provider.

"England, and what has England done for the South? English avarice plundered from Africa her untamed barbarism, her wild freedom; and when chained and whipt into slavery, imported and spread out the moral pestilence over her whole colonies of the South. Not only on you, and on you, and on you, was the scourge of nations inflicted, but on all those of 'the cane-bearing Isles,' throughout the Carribean Sea. Why? and for whose benefit? That this wretched slavery might toil; that you, as overseers, might toil, and plough, and plant, and reap, and deliver to England the rich harvest. For what? For the very purpose, under the very System, this day, in this House, so earnestly demanded by you; that her labor may be fed from your fields, and your harvest be taxed to furnish her revenue; that they may be enriched by you, and you be made poor by them; they be lords, you any thing they please.

"What more would England do for the South, if more may be done? Would she goad on that State to separate from the Union? Hear; read; and read all which is said, or written by her hirelings in Europe, or by her renegade hirelings in America. Of all, what is the amount? Divide and conquer, whom, united, she cannot. Conquer the South by alliance. The North? No, not the North; nor the East; nor the West. These they cannot-while there is a man, or a woman, or a child, left living

R

in those regions, they cannot conquer them. Let them, as in other days they did, pour the barbarism of Europe upon us. Each valley shall be a Golgotha; each hill shall be steeped in blood to the top. Here we have lived free; where we have lived, as we have lived, we will die; and the winds of heaven shall, in those regions, blow over none but freemen, or the bones or graves of freemen."

In 1832, there was a debate in the House of Representatives on the reading of a Memorial from certain British subjects, praying Congress to aid the American Colonization Society, as an efficient means of ultimately suppressing the African Slave Trade.

Mr. Mercer, of Virginia, moved that the Memorial should be read. The motion created unusual excitement, and an animated discussion. Mr. Blair, of South Carolina, accused Mr. Burges of reproaching the South on the subject of Slavery. He insisted that a disposition was manifested to agitate the Slave Question. "He could tell gentlemen, that when they moved that question seriously, they from the South would meet it elsewhere. It would not be disputed in that House, but in the open field, where powder and cannon would be their orators, and their arguments lead and steel."

To this effusion, Mr. Burges thus replied: "Mr. Speaker; in justice to the course I have pursued, I must be permitted to say a few words. I was not in the House when the Memorial was introduced; and when the gentleman from Tennessee had made his motion for re-consideration, I did not know to what the gentleman alluded; but when I perceived that the gentlemen from Tennessee and from Virginia were at issue, as to the contents of the paper, I moved that it might be read. I had no knowledge, whatever, of its contents, save that it came from British subjects, and that it was on the question of the foreign Slave Trade. Gentlemen will do me the justice, however indisposed some may be to do so, and however ready to insult my feelings, and to injure my character; yet the House, I am sure, will do me the justice to admit, that I have ever treated the subject of slavery in a manner calculated to quiet every

angry feeling. I have never sought to stir up any excitement on that subject. Those who remember the case of the slave of D'Auterive, and the debate to which it gave rise, will bear witness, that the statements I then made, were such as to satisfy every gentleman coming from a slave-holding State, of my perfect conviction of the unconstitutionality of any interference of the General Government with the tenure of slave property. Yet, to-day, for some purpose, gentlemen have misrepresented my sentiments. The member from Virginia, (Mr. Patton,) has alluded to me as having said, that they of the South were afraid to have the paper read."

[Mr. Patton answered, that he had alluded to Mr. Burges, who had said, "Are the gentlemen afraid to hear it ?"]

[ocr errors]

Well, now," replied Mr. Burges, "I asked whether gentlemen were afraid to hear the paper read. May not that question be asked without offence? In what way, more emphatic, could I have declared that the gentlemen were not afraid. 'King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets?' asked the great Apostle; and instantly added, I know that thou believest.' Let the gentleman consult his primer in rhetoric; aye, and his primer in courtesy too.

"The gentleman from South Carolina, (Mr. Blair,) has accused the citizens of the North, of building their factories on the groans, and tears, and blood of the oppressed and miserable Africans. That is more, Sir, than I will sit and hear. The gentleman knows nothing about the people of the North. I admit, that before the slave-trade was made piracy, some American ship-owners were partially engaged in it; and it might have been, even after the trade became illegal, some might have been concerned it. If the facts were so, let them settle that question, with God and their country. But that the people of New-England built their factories on the groans, and tears, and blood of the poor Africans, is as false, as that the gentleman from South Carolina now lives on the groans, and tears, and blood of the vast number of slaves over whom he holds control. I said that it had pleased God to relieve the people of the North, of that grievous curse which still lay upon

« السابقةمتابعة »