American Rebellion
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    Mr. Mayor and gentlemen, the subject that is to engross our attention to-night is one of such vital importance that it appeals not merely to the feelings of a Rochdale audience, or of a Lancashire audience, or of an English audience, but it is a subject that ought to enlist the sympathies, and should enlist the attention, of the whole civilized world. (Cheers.)  It is a subject involving not merely English interests or American interests, it is a subject not merely of pounds, shillings and pence, vital and important as any pounds-shillings-and-pence question must be to a manufacturing community, but it is a subject involving questions of morality and humanity, and questions of religion itself (Cheers.)  Nor is it at all out of place, even abstracted from our own personal interests, that we should deeply ponder over and calmly deliberate upon the struggle now proceeding in the United States of America.  We are invited to do so; we are, if I may use the expression, challenged to do so, by the originators of that war, and by those who are the chief actors in that struggle on the side of the South.  The Government of the Confederate States, by the manifestoes they have issued to the world, are asking the sympathies and claiming the opinion of the people of England and of all countries as to the course they have pursued.  They have sent over ambassadors to England and France asking for sympathy, for recognition, and alliance at the hands of the English people and the French people, and therefore it behoves us, as citizens of a free country, as people claiming to have a voice in that which England does, and that which England says, to give our answer to that invitation,—to say on which side we believe that our sympathies ought to be enlisted; upon which side our duties really lie; and what is the attitude which we ought to hold between the belligerent parties

    Bearing that view of the question in mind, I propose to analyse the subject matter under the following heads:―1st. To endeavour to show what was the origin and what was the object of secession―2nd. To examine some of the assertions made by the defenders and advocates of the South—3rd. To consider what, in my humble judgment,—and to submit for your consideration arguments in support of that judgment—appear to be the interests and the duties of the people of this country.  Because you have been told that it is a pocket-question with England; you have been told that so long as this war lasts the supply of cotton from America must be kept away, and certain measures have been suggested to you which, if they were adopted, it is said would ensure you a cotton supply.

    Under these three heads I purpose to address you to-night, and I purpose laying down before you, and maintaining to the best of my poor ability, the following arguments:— Firstly, that the sole origin and entire object of the secession war has been to perpetuate and to spread slavery—(cheers); Secondly, that the war was not originated for the purposes of free trade, not originated on questions of tariff, not waged for national independence as such.  (Cheers.)  Those, with reference to the first branch of the argument, are the propositions which I purpose to maintain.  Thirdly, I purpose showing that the Confederate States had no right, constitutional, legal, or moral, for secession; that they laboured under no grievances which would sanction their secession, and that, consequently, their rebellion is a rebellion and an unjustifiable rebellion altogether.  Fourthly, that with a view of obtaining cotton, with a view of securing the prosperity of the working classes of this country, a disruption of the American Union is not desirable, but the very reverse.


    And first I purpose laying before you what really the fighting question was before the sword was drawn between the North and South.  You are aware that the United States of America, before the secession war began, consisted of states and territories.  The states were those portions of the community which had a municipal independence, which had state rights, and as states sent representatives to Congress.  The territories were merely provinces in the process of formation into States, ruled under the authority of the Central Executive.  Each of these territories could claim to be made a state as soon as it had a population of 124,000.  For a long period the question of slavery and freedom had been at issue and debate between the North and South; and the origin of that question dates back to the very foundation of the American colonies of England.  There are some people who say, "What a blot slavery is upon Republican and Democratic institutions in the greatest and (as they call it) model republic of the modern world!" (Laughter.)  But, recollect when slavery was founded in the whole of the Northern continent of America.  It was established when America was a colony of the English Crown.  Slavery was not established by Democracy or Republicans, but by Monarchy and Aristocracy. (Cheers.)  But although slavery existed generally throughout the Union when the states comprising the Union were English colonies, step by step slavery was purged from all the Northern States, and it was only in the Southern States, and in a portion of the Western States, that it struck deep root and maintained itself as a growing and rampant institution. (Hear, hear.)  Why was it so?  Because there was a distinction between the men who colonised the North and the men who colonised the South.  You will find that generally it is the aristocracy of this country, and those who are fond of clinging to the skirts of that aristocracy, those who would desire to be an aristocracy themselves, and the State Church clergy of this country very generally, who support the South. (Cheers.)  Now this is perfectly natural. (Laughter.)  It is not to be wondered at, and I will tell you why.  The Northern colonies of America were colonised by the Puritans, by the Lollards, by the middle classes and the working classes of England, who fled from Church and Royal persecutions.  The Southern colonies were colonised by the fugitive cavaliers, by the malignants, by those who viewed with disgust the growth and supremacy of democratic institutions, who shrunk before the sword of Cromwell and the eloquence of Pym. (Cheers.)  The South was colonised by the aristocracy of Britain, the North by the democracy of Britain.  (Hear, hear.)  Where did slavery exist, and where did slavery perish of itself?  It perished in the democratic North, and it has struck deeper root in the aristocratic South, in that part of America where the aristocracy of England have claimed the land, partitioned it among 300,000 planters, and degraded labour to the lowest possible degree. (Cheers.)  The North, purging slavery from its confines, sought to spread liberty further and further to the South; the South, determined to cling to slavery, sought to spread it further and further North.  And on that basis the battle was fought, first on the hustings, then, on the floor of the Senate House and House of Representatives at Washington.  Of course everything now depended on who had the most votes in Congress.  For a long series of years the South had supremacy.  The South elected pro-slavery men as presidents of the Union, and through these presidents succeeded in putting Southern officers in the command of Union regiments, dockyards and navy; in putting pro-slavery judges on the judicial bench, and, thus we have decisions in favour of slavery, like the decision in the Dred Scott case, in the teeth of justice and law. (Cheers.)  Then arose the question whether the territories should be admitted as free states or slave states; for every new state having the power to send two representatives to Congress, if the state was admitted as a free state, the Northern party gained these votes; if as a slave state, the Southern party. (Hear, hear.)  Therefore the battle of freedom and slavery was fought for a long series of years on this question—whether the new states should be admitted as free states or slave states.  You remember the really terrific and blood-thirsty struggle that took place in reference to the admission of Kansas into the Union.  In order to gain a majority of votes, the South sent across the border a gang of Missouri ruffians, who drove away the honest free electors, and gave their spurious-votes at the point of the revolver and bowie knife: yet Kansas entered the Union as a free state.  And when, in the year 1850, California was admitted as a free state, thus turning the balance of power somewhat in favour of freedom and against slavery, the struggle became one of peculiar intensity, and in order to meet the great issue, the Southern men, in defiance of law and treaties, reopened the slave trade, and for the following reasons:—The Hon L. W. Spratt, senator of South Carolina, tells us in a few words upon what basis that battle was fought,—

    "The revival of the slave trade will give political power to the South—imported slaves will give increased representation to the national legislature—more slaves will give us more states, and it is therefore within the power of the untutored savages we bring from Africa to restore to the South the influence she has lost by the suppression of the slave trade."

    Vice-President Stephens said:―

    "We can divide Texas into five states, and it is plain that, unless the number of African stock be increased, we have not the population, and might as well abandon the race with our brothers of the North in the colonisation of the territories."

Therefore you see they openly expressed their intention of renewing the slave trade in order that they might swamp the territories with a slave population, and (five blacks counting as one white) then say, "Here are the requisite 124,000 votes required for the admission of the territory into the Union as a state; it shall be made into a state, and it shall be made into a slave state; and the population being slaves will give us two more votes to set against the republican and abolitionist votes."  Upon that ground then the battle was fought, and the slave trade re-opened.  In 1859 a convention met at Vicksburg, and unanimously resolved that an African Labour supply Association be formed, with Mr. De Bow as president.  The State of Georgia offered a premium of 25 dollars for the best specimen of a live African imported within twelve months.  Alabama formed a league of United Southerners to re-open the slave trade; and Arkansas and Louisiana followed in the same direction.  The slave trade was therefore re-opened in defiance of the law; and they thus sought to fight the battle on the basis of the new states.  This the North resisted; and to show you the exact ground upon which this battle was fought between the two parties, which led in the end to the triumph of Lincoln and abolition principles, I will read to you the principal clauses of the republican platforms of Fremont and Lincoln:―

    "The new dogma that the constitution, by its own force, carries slavery into any or all territories, is a dangerous heresy.

    "The normal condition of all the territories of the United States is freedom. As our republican lathers, when they abolished slavery in all our national territories, ordained that "no person should be deprived of life, liberty and property, without due course of law," it becomes our duty to maintain this principle inviolate; and we deny the authority of Congress, of the territorial legislatures, or of individuals, to give existence to slavery in any territory of the United States.

    "That we brand the recent re-opening of the African slave trade, under cover of our national flag, aided by perversions in judicial power, as a crime against humanity, and a burning shame to our country and our age; and we call on Congress to take prompt and efficient measures for the total and final suppression of that execrable traffic."

That was the platform and basis upon which the battle was fought.  The triumph of Buchanan over Fremont, in 1856, caused a momentary lull in the action of the Republican party of the North.  But the South felt that at the nest election of President they must be in the minority; and from that moment they prepared for active war, for the present rebellion.


    I am not here to advance my own opinions on this subject; I am here to bring the Southern leaders themselves on this platform, and to prove my case in their own words, from their own declarations and State papers (Cheers.)  And if I can show you that the South told us they intended to draw the sword for slavery; if I can show you that they offered to return the sword to the scabbard if guarantees were given for the protection of slavery; if I can show you that they offered a slavery compromise; that the ordinances of the seceding states all turned mainly upon slavery; and if I can show you that the crowning work of all this was a Slavery Constitution, a constitution differing from the Federal Constitution only on this single point: then I shall ask you to accept one of two propositions,—Either that the South speaks the truth, and if it does that this is a struggle for slavery, and for slavery alone, or else that its declarations are a lie, that its compromise is a lie, its ultimatum a lie, its secession ordinance a lie, its constitution a lie; and if so, I wish the Southern advocates joy of the honourable clients which they appear for here (Cheers ).

    Now one word with reference to the slave trade.  As the Mayor has told you, I shall be happy to answer any objections that may arise at the close of my address; but perhaps I may be permitted to anticipate one or two as they do arise.  You may have been, you may be told, "Well, if slavery is the object of the struggle, why is it that in the Confederate Constitution the slave trade is prohibited."  Undoubtedly it is prohibited, but under what circumstances?  By an overwhelming majority in both houses of the Confederate Legislature the slave trade was formally re-opened, but then it was said by Jefferson Davis and the leading statesmen of the South, "We are seeking the support of England and France; and if they see that the slave trade is legalised by one of the clauses of our constitution they will not give us their support."  Therefore Jefferson Davis put his veto upon that clause of the constitution.  But the Hon W. L. Spratt had explained the motive,—that it was only a sprat to catch a herring. (Laughter )  He said, "It is merely a tub to catch a whale; but as soon as our independence is secure, so soon the slave trade will be re-opened."  Those are the words of the Hon W. L. Spratt.  When it was found probable that an Abolition President would be elected, the Richmond Enquirer, the Moniteur of the Confederate States, wrote thus:—"If Fremont is elected, the Union will not last an hour after Pierce's (the then President's) term of office expires."  Preston Brooks, of South Carolina, said:—

    "The only mode available for meeting it [the issue between slavery and freedom] is just to tear up the constitution of the United States, [thus admitting that the constitution did not provide for slavery] trample it under foot and form a Southern Confederacy, every state of which shall be a slave-holding state."

    Jefferson Davis, speaking at Jackson, Mississippi, in 1858, said:—

    "If an abolitionist be chosen President, you will have to consider whether you will permit the government to pass into the hands of your enemies.  In that event, in such manner as should be most expedient, I should deem it your duty to provide for your safety outside the union."

    And Buchanan, the Southern President, in his message to Congress in December, 1860, throwing off the Presidential mask as far as he could, said:—

    "The long-continued and intemperate interference of the Northern people with the question of slavery in the Southern States, has at length produced its natural effects.  The immediate peril arises from the incessant and violent agitation of the slavery question throughout the North for the last quarter of a century, which has at length produced its malign influence on the slaves, and inspired them with vague notions of freedom."

    Now, I say, if all these men, representative men, before the sword is drawn, tell you why they mean to draw it, are you to believe what they say or what you are told by amateur politicians in England, 3,000 miles from the scene of conflict, who tell you that these men, who led the rebellion, did not know one atom of what the rebellion was really for? (Cheers.)  But more than this, at the close of 1860 a committee of Thirty Three, or a committee consisting of a representative from each of the states then in the Union, was appointed to ascertain what were the points of difference between the Northern and Southern States.  The report of this committee was published, and, as Mr Cobden has told you, every one of the grievances of the South arose out of slavery, and nothing else. (Cheers.)  So much for the declarations of the South when the sword was drawn.  After it was drawn a compromise—the Crittenden compromise—was proposed.  Some gentlemen here tell you that the rebellion is for free trade, that it was a revolt against the Morrill tariff.  But what were the terms of this compromise?  Why, that "by amendment of the constitution," thus admitting that the constitution does not provide for slavery (cheers)—slavery should be recognized as a permanent and legal institution in all territory south of the geographical line 36 deg. 30 min.; that Congress should have no power to abolish slavery in the states permitting it; that slavery should be sanctioned in the district of Columbia, while it existed in Virginia, and Maryland, and that the officers of Government and members of Congress should not be prohibited from bringing their slaves there, and holding them there as such; that Congress should have no power to hinder the transportation of slaves from state to state; that Congress should have full power to pay the owners of fugitive slaves their full value, where the national officer was prevented from arresting the fugitive; that Congress should never have the power of interfering with slavery in the states where it was then permitted; that the right to have property in man should be legal not only in the territories then in possession, but in all territories to be hereafter acquired."  That was the compromise called the Crittenden compromise.  It is slavery in the beginning, slavery to the end. (Cheers )  Not one word about free trade or the Morrill tariff. (Cheers)  Then Jefferson Davis offered to the North an ultimatum—"On these conditions, and these only, we (the South) will return to the Union,"—and what are these conditions?

    That it shall be resolved by amendment of the Constitution [again that word "amendment "] that property in slaves, recognised as such by the local law of any state, shall stand on the same footing in all Constitutional and Federal relations as any other property so recognised, and, like other property, not be subject to be divested or impaired by the local law of any other state, either in escape thereto, or transit, or sojourn of the owner therein, and, in no case whatever, shall such property be divested or impaired by any legislative act of the United States, or any of the territories thereof.

    That was the ultimatum upon the acceptance of which, and upon which conditions only, the South would consent to return to the Union.  Where's the free trade,—where's the Morrill taliff—where's the independence? (Cheers.)  Every state that has slaves now shall have slaves for ever; every territory that has slaves shall keep its slaves for ever; every future state admitted into the Union to be a slave state (Hear, hear.)  Throughout every chamber of the republican palace the foot of liberty shall never fall (Cheers.)  Every new state, emblazoned as a silver star upon the banner of the Union, shall show but the widening of a dungeon instead of the enlarging of a palace (Cheers.)  But the North said "No;" they spurned the compromise, and they said "Every new star shall be baptised in the light of liberty, and shall help to shine the night of slavery from the South itself."  Now, then, these men have told us why they meant to draw the sword; they have told you what compromise they would accept; they have told you upon what conditions they would return to the Union.  Their compromise was spurned, and secession took place. As they seceded, state by state issued state documents, called secession ordinances, in which they undertook to show the grounds upon which they seceded, and the justification of their secession.  I will read to you one of them, that of South Carolina.  This was the first of the states to secede, and so great was her hurry to get out of the Union that, though seceding Mr Lincoln's election, her secession ordinance was actually dated before his inaugurations (Laughter.)  And what were the reasons by which South Carolina justified secession?

    That the fugitive slaves had not been recovered from the free states.  That the slave hunter had not been assisted in recapturing the slaves.  That the free states had not caused their officers to become slave catchers, in pursuance of the slave law.  That the right of property in man had been denounced as sinful.  That societies for teaching abolition principles had been openly allowed for twenty-five years.  That by Lincoln's election this anti-slavery agitation had received the aid of the President, and that Lincoln had said "Government cannot endure half slave, half free," and "Slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction."

    Alabama, on the 11th of January, 1861; Texas, on the 1st of February; Virginia, on the 17th of April; issued secession ordinances in the same tone and spirit. (Cheers.)

    Now, then, by its fruits ye shall know the tree.  What was the constitution of the Confederate States?  In that, if anywhere, you must look to find the aim and object of the South.  The Federal constitution does not provide for slavery,—I speak on that point advisedly—but the Confederate constitution deliberately provides, in three of its principal clauses, for perpetual slavery.  These clauses are the only great distinctive marks between the constitutions of the North and South; and these clauses I will read to you:—

    All citizens may travel about the Confederacy with their slaves, and the right of property in such slaves shall not thereby be impaired.

    No slave escaping to another State shall in consequence of any State law become free, but shall be delivered up to the owner.

    The Confederacy may acquire new territories.  In all such territories slavery SHALL be.

    That is the constitution of the Confederate States. (Cheers.)  Now, have these men shown by their own words and acts that their movement was for slavery, and for slavery only, or not?  Shall we believe the great criminal himself, who, before the tribunal of History, pleads guilty, not with bated breath, but as glorying in his crime—(cheers)—or shall we believe his advocate here, the quibbling lawyer who, bribed with his cotton fee, is yet ashamed of his own client, and makes himself the apologist of a liar that he may not appear the confederate of a knave? (Cheers.)  Bull's Run took place.  The chivalry of the South beat the poor mechanics and labourers of the North.  Working men could not stand before the chivalric planters on their blood-horses, and they were vanquished!  Jefferson Davis had vetoed the clause in the Confederate Constitution, fearing its effect on the Emperor of the French and upon England.  But after Bull's Run the great secret came out.  When they thought that the North was going to be overrun by the slave-holding chivalry of the South, they threw off the mask, and gloried in their crime.  Then manifestoes were issued, and expressions were made use of, which must appal any conscientious auditors.  Vice-President Stephens said, at the great seceding convention at Montgomery:

    "Our new Government is founded on the great truth, its foundations are laid, its corner stone rests upon the great truth, that the negro is not equal to the white,—that slavery is his natural and normal condition.  Our Government is the first in the history of the world, based upon this great physical and moral truth 'This stone, which was rejected by the first builders, is become the chief stone of the corner in our new edifice.  It is the Lord's doing, and marvellous in our eyes.'"

    Then James Williams, in his South, Vindicated, said:―

"For the institution of slavery, pure and simple, the South drew the sword."

Then the Richmond Enquirerer, of May 28th, 1863, wrote:―

    "For liberty, equality and fraternity, we have distinctly substituted slavery, subordination and government.  There are slave races born to serve—master races born to govern.  Our Confederacy is a God-sent missionary to the nations."

    Then Dr. Palmer, one of the most popular preachers of the South, spoke as follows,—and as Mr Spence, alluding to the famous corner-stone speech of Mr. Stephens, says it is not fair to drag out the expressions of one man, and to hold a whole people responsible for that one man's expressions,—and I admit that it would not be fairs, even though that one man is Vice President of the Confederate States, the man next in authority to Jefferson Davis—I call your particular attention to Dr Palmer's echo of Mr Stephen's speech:―

    "The providential Southern trust is to perpetuate the institution of Domestic Slavery as at present existing, with freest scope for its natural development.  We should at once lift ourselves intelligently to the highest racial ground, and proclaim to all the world that we hold this trust from God, and in its occupancy are prepared to stand or fall.  It is a duty we owe to ourselves, to our slaves, and to Almighty God (!!) to preserve and transmit our existing system of domestic servitude, with the right unchallenged by man to go and root itself wherever.  Providence and nature may carry it."

    That is what a leading Southern divine says; and the devil is never so wicked as when he quotes scripture.

    But now I am going to read to you something that should make your blood curdle—I refer to the manifesto of the hundred Southern ministers of the gospel.  I have the most profound respect for ministers of the gospel of every denomination and persuasion who consistently and conscientiously teach what they believe. (Cheers.)  But I say this, that while most sincerely respecting them, I believe there is no man worse than a bad parson (Great laughter.)  When the devil has any ordinary piece of dirty work an ordinary man will do it, but when something peculiarly atrocious is to be done he generally finds a bad parson for the work. (Renewed laughter.)  And this is the manifesto which these 100 Southern ministers of the gospel put forth,―

    "The practical plan for benefiting the African race must be the providential, the scriptural plan.  We adopt that plan in the South—We regard abolitionism as an interference with the plans of Divine Providence."

    Now is the expression of Mr. Stephens only the opinion of one man, or the manifesto of a nation?  Of course all this was said after the triumph of Bull's Run.  And permit me, gentlemen, to tell you, before I pass to the next branch of the argument—why the South triumphed at Bull's Run.  As I have already said, this rebellion had been preparing from the moment of Mr. Buchanan election.  By that election the South placed a pro-slavery man in the Presidential chair of the United States.  Under his administration they placed Southern officers in the command of Union regiments, Southern officers in command of Union dockyards and arsenals.  They had been training and drilling the army and State militias, they were therefore able on the outbreak of war to place a veteran army of trained and drilled soldiers in the field, while the North, lulled to slumber by the treachery of Buchanan, could not believe in the existence of so gross and gigantic a conspiracy (Cheers.)  Can you be surprised at the early triumphs of the South when you find these traitors at the first note of war securing all the war material of the Union, getting possession of the Union arsenals, of the Union dockyards, of the Union stores,—seizing, like midnight burglars, that property to which the loyal states had contributed four-fifths in the shape of taxation, while the South had only contributed one-fifth?  And can you wonder that this was so, can you doubt it, when you find Jefferson Davis secretary-at-war for the United States of America? (Cheers.)  Well, the North, whose fault, if anything, was long-suffering, blind submissiveness, for I am not here to say that the Northern men are all saints or anything of that sort: for the truth is that the North had been too long holding the candle to the devil—too long tampering with principle in order to save the Union,—the North, at the first sound of war, rushed to arms and took the field against the trained troops of the South, troops trained and armed out of their taxation;—(cheers)—they came from the plough-tail, from the shop, from the factory, from the loom, from the office, from the counting-house, untrained and undrilled; they bared their breasts, with honest hearts within, to the sabres and cannon shot of the South; (cheers)—they fought well, they fell gloriously; but a panic arose at the eleventh hour, as panics do arise, and thus the South triumphed at Bull's Run. (Hear, hear.)  But nobly has the North retrieved that defeat. (Cheers.)  The North has shown that it could do a little fighting too; and yet now the advocates of the South come before you and say you ought to sympathise with the South―"See how gallantly they fight." (Laughter.)  So they do.  Give the devil his due. (Hear, bear, and laughter.)  So did the Austrians fight well in Italy and in Hungary, yet I'm for the Italians and the Hungarians (Cheers.)  So do the Russians in Poland, yet I'm for the Poles and not for the Russians. (Chears.)  Unfortunately the minions of despotisms have but too often fought well. (Hear, hear.)  But is it not extraordinary that some people can never see bravery but on one side, and only cheer when the devil makes a hit? (Cheers.)

    Now then, I submit that from the mouth of the South itself, from the press of the South, from the pulpit of the South, from the statesmen of the South, from the state papers of the South, from the Constitution of the South, that the origin and object of this rebellion was slavery and slavery alone. (Enthusiastic cheering.)


    But there are some gentlemen who say that the straggle was for free trade, and not for slavery.  Permit me to show you the enormous fallacy of that argument.  Properly stated, of course, this argument means, and you are asked to believe, that the North had passed protective tariffs, and that the South had opposed these tariffs. (Hear, hear.)  Now, two of the very last tariffs, passed, excepting the Morrill tariff, were passed by the South against the votes of the North.  The tariff of 1846 was voted as follows: For, 50 Northern votes, against 73; making a Northern majority of 23 against the measure. (Cheers.)  For, 61 Southern votes, against 22; making a majority of 42 Southern votes for it. (Cheers.)  For the tariff of 1857 there were 60 Northern votes; against 65; making a majority of 5 against it in the North. (Cheers.)  For, 63 Southern votes; against only 7 (cheers)—making a majority for it in the South of 56 (Cheers.)  And these were the two last protective tariffs before the Morrill tariff; and they were, as you see, passed by the South in the teeth and in defiance of the North! (Cheers.)  And yet in the face of this, the advocates of the South come before you and say, "We are for free trade, the North is protectionist." (Laughter.)  So you are asked to sympathise with the South upon free trade principles, and more especially with the view of getting free trade cotton.  This is the favourite argument of Lords Wharncliffe and Campbell.  Yet one of the first acts of the Southern Confederacy was to impose a tax of eight, and then of ten per cent upon cotton—and why?  Why, in their own words, to raise their revenue for the war in England, and thus "to make the English pay their taxes." (Cheers.)  They boasted that they should by this means drive the manufacturers and operatives of Lancashire to desperation and war. (Hear, hear.)  Then I shall perhaps be told "There still remains the Morrill tariff."  Yes, there is still the Morrill tariff; and that was undoubtedly passed by the North, and that was a most protective tariff.  But under what circumstances was it passed?  Before the vote upon the Morrill tariff was taken every one of the Southern representatives walked out of Congress, and yet the advocates of the South in this country complain of the protective nature of this measure which Southern representatives never chose to hold up their hand against in Congress!  Why?  It is clear that was tariff then? a secession trick.  Did they raise the cry against the Morrill tariff then,—and why?  Because the men of the South were not fools; and if they had gone back to their constituents with this cry on their lips the latter would have said, "You dishonest and unfaithful stewards, why do you come back to us with this complaint, after allowing the tariff to pass by abandoning your posts?"  But I have made one mistake, they did not all leave,—one remained: Toombs, the man who represented Georgia—Toombs, the violent war man, now holding a command in Jefferson Davis's army, and he voted for it!  So much for the Morrill tariff.


    But there are gentlemen who tell you that, irrespective of slavery or free trade, their clients had a right to secede On what ground ? "Oh," say they, "the states are sovereign and can do as they like."  That is not so; and those who tell you that the constitution gives them such a right either know better or do not.  If they do know better I need not observe upon their conduct; if they do not I need simply to say that they ought not to set up as instructors of their fellow-men.

    By the first constitution of November, 1777, the states preserved their sovereignty, and such rights as were not delegated to the general congress—(in itself an important reservation); but this was found to work badly.  Washington wrote the celebrated letter of 1783, pointing out the evil, and the present constitution of the United States was passed on the 4th of March, 1789, for the especial purpose of putting an end to the independent sovereignty of the states.  This it does most effectually.  The preamble says: "We, the people of the United States, ordain and establish this constitution for the United States of America"—a constitution established by the whole people for all the states; and that constitution specially and succinctly takes away every attribute of sovereignty from every individual state.  It prohibits all taxes and duties between states, all treaties and alliances by states, all coining of money, all emission of bills of credit, all duties on exports and imports, all duty on tonnage, all keeping of troops or ships of war in time of peace, all agreements with a foreign power, all acts of war (unless actually invaded and no time existing for delays) on the part of any state, and all agreements or compacts of one state with another, without consent of Congress.  This constitution to be the supreme law of the land, and the judges of every state to be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.  Article 5 provides for the amendment of the constitution on the sole condition that three-fourths of the states of the entire Union, after long and great formalities, consent to such amendment,—thus taking away the power of any individual state to separate from the bonds of union the constitution imposed (Cheers.)  Who will now maintain that the states are individually sovereign, and could by right secede of their own will? (Cheers.)  But how did the South itself construe this constitution?  What do the slave states themselves say of it?  Virginia was the first to set about altering this evil of state-sovereignty.  In the Virginia Convention, assembled to ratify the constitution, Patrick Henry opposed it because it took state sovereignty away!  Yet, hearing this, Virginia voted for it on that very ground! (Cheers.)  Mr Benton, a Southern man, one of the fathers of the democratic party, and for thirty years a representative in Congress, tells us that, "At the time of its first appearance, the right of secession was repulsed and repudiated by the democracy generally, and in a larger degree by the entire people, the difference between a Union and a League being better understood at the time when the fathers of the new Government were alive.  The leading language in respect to it, south of the Potomac, was that no state had a right to withdraw from the Union, and that any attempt to dissolve it, or obstruct the action of constitutional laws, was treason." (Cheers.)  The same views were propounded by Presidents Madison, Jefferson and Jackson, by the representatives of the secession and slave states, Randolph, Millson, and Teake, of Virginia; Nicholson, of Maryland; Kennedy, of the same state; Rousseau, of Kentucky; Hamilton, of Texas; Etheridge, of Tennessee; and many other leading Southern men, including Stephens himself, the Vice-President of the Southern Confederacy. (Cheers.)  Thus much for the right of secession.  The states are, in fact, municipally independent, but politically provincial.


    But I take higher ground than that I believe that irrespective of any written law—of any human law, there are circumstances in which a people has a right to rise in rebellion, and take up arms. (Cheers.)  I can conceive of circumstances in which the sacred right of rebellion would not only be a right, but a duty. (Enthusiastic cheers.)  In some cases rebellion to man is obedience to God.  But to justify rebellion two conditions are indispensable,—firstly, there must be an intolerable grievance; and secondly, every moral, peaceful, and constitutional means for obtaining redress must have been exhausted before the sword is drawn.  If the grievances of a people are unbearable, if its remonstrances are spurned and treated with indignity, then a people has a right to rebel, and God defend the rebels.  Was this the case with the South?  Had they a grievance?  Did they use all constitutional means at their disposal to redress what they thought grievances?  Let me bring the South upon the platform, and let its representatives state if they had a grievance.  Vice-President Stephens said,—"This government of our fathers, with all its defects, comes nearer the object of all good government than any other on the face of the earth.  Have we not at the South, as well as the North, grown great, prosperous and happy under its operation?  Has any part of the World ever shown such rapid progress in the development of wealth and all the material resources of national power and greatness as the Southern States have under the general government?"  In the Georgia State Convention, held in January, 1861, to decide on secession, Mr. Stephens said further: "What right has the North assailed?  What interest of the South has been invaded?  What justice has been denied?  What claim, founded in justice and right, has been withheld?  Can any one name one governmental act of wrong deliberately and purposely done by the government of Washington, of which the South has a right to complain?  I challenge the answer.  Now for you to attempt to overthrow such a government as this, under which we have lived for more than three-quarters of a century, in which we have gained our wealth, our stand as a nation, our domestic safety, while the elements of perils are around us, with peace and prosperity accompanied with unbounded prosperity and rights unassailed, is the height of madness, folly, and wickedness."  The Governor of Florida, declared that "the rebellion was made without complaint of wrong or injustice."  Rousseau, of Kentucky, asserted, "Our Government has oppressed no man, neither has it burdened us a feather's weight."  Kennedy, of Maryland, said, in May, 1861, "Maryland has no cause for revolution; no man can lay his hand on his heart and say this Government of ours has done him wrong."  Holman, of Indiana, a democrat, told his hearers:—"No intolerable oppression exists.  Therefore, if the government is overturned, it will be without justification or excuse."  Millson, of Virginia, Hamilton, of Texas, and Etheredge, of Tennessee, all maintained that, "that there was no cause for rebellion, no tyranny." (Cheers.)  The people of Virginia, in convention at Wheelhouse, spoke to the same effect; and the Convention of the Border States, at Frankfort, uttered the same sentiment in the face of the United South.  Therefore they had not a grievance.  The constitution did not give them a right to secede.  Had they had a grievance they did not take the Constitutional means to obtain redress. (Hear, hear.)  Therefore this is not a rebellion sanctioned by the laws of God, or the feelings of men—(cheers);—but it is a rebellion against a just government, and a rebellion to perpetuate one of the foulest crimes that has ever stained the historical annals of any country.  But, gentlemen, this is not a rebellion against the North alone.  It is also a rebellion against the South itself.  The Presidential vote of 1860 was cast virtually on the question of Union or Secession.  The Unionist candidates were Lincoln, Douglas and Bell.  The votes, taking the whole Union, were as follows:—

For Lincoln, Republican, Anti-Slavery Unionist .


       Douglas, Squatter Sovereignty, Unionist ....


       Bell, Union-saving Whig.


                                     Total Union Votes


For Breckenridge, Secessionist


                                     Majority against Secession


    But in the Secession States themselves, how stood the votes?  In those very States the votes were divided between Douglas and Bell, the Unionists, on the one side, and Breckenridge on the other.

The Votes for the two former were


For the Secessionist, Breckenridge


Showing in the Seceding States themselves a clear


majority against Secession of


    So much for the sanction of the majority being on the side of the South.  Yet they tell you this is a struggle for independence, and therefore you might sympathise with the South.  If they were struggling for independence, why did they offer a compromise to remain in the Union if slavery was conceded; if they were struggling for independence why did Jefferson Davis offer an ultimatum to remain in the Union if slavery were permitted to be universal and perpetual.  It is not a war for independence; it is not a war for liberty but for the lash; it is not for freedom but for fetters,—a war for independence!  Yes, for the independence of every man to lash his own slave.  That is the independence the South are fighting for,—that is the freedom they want.

    There is another Southern plea upon which I wish to say a word or two.  Our English Southerners say, "We, too, are as much against slavery as you are; but the best way to put an end to it is to help the South to secede: as soon as it is independent, the South itself will extinguish slavery."  Then why did it not extinguish it years ago, when it had its majorities in Congress?  Why did it lash, and tar, and maim every apostle of liberty who dared to set his foot on Southern soil?  Why did it levy war to maintain slavery, if it only desired to abolish it?  Why did it rise against the North for wanting the very thing they say the South itself is seeking?  Why did it make slavery the corner-stone of its new temple, if it is to be pulled down as soon as it is built?

    But I will tell you the secret: It is not that they love slavery, but that they hate freedom.  They are afraid of the great example of the modern Republic; afraid that when the working men of England see how under Republican institutions every man has a vote; when they know that every working man tills the land for his own and not for other men's benefit, that the example will be too taking before the eyes of Englishmen, and will render the people of this country more discontented with the institutions under which they live.  We knew that long ago, you and I.  But who let the cat out of the bag, not Mr. Spence, not Mr. Kershaw.  It was left for some person not of the ordinary calibre of intelligence to proclaim this great secret of secrets to the world, and who do you think were the noodles?  They could not have got a merchant or manufacturer, or a working man to do this—it was left to two lords to let the cat out of the bag,—to Lords Wharncliffe and Campbell.  Lord Wharncliff and Lord Campbell,—the smaller lord of the two,—say, "Oh, we believe that the growth of America is dangerous to the prosperity of England.  We believe that the best thing that could happen to England would be the disruption of the American Union."  They let the cat out of the bag.  Lord Campbell I am rather inclined to forgive, because of his sympathies to some extent for Poland.  You know you must not expect too much from a lord; and he may be enlightened in time; not rapidly, perhaps, because it takes a great deal to enlighten a lord.  The disruption of the American Union, the ruin of America, the benefit of England!  My friends, I am an Englishman, and I believe I love my country as much as any man. (Cheers.)  But I say at once, perish the prosperity of my own country if that prosperity is to be founded on the ruin of any other country. (Cheers.)  But it is not so.  The prosperity of England is the prosperity of America too. (Cheers.)  America and England are the two hands of freedom with which she lifts the oppressed people of the earth up to dignity and wealth. (Cheers.)  The success of American institutions and principles is a God-send to the working men of England and to the oppressed people of the European Continent.


    Now let us proceed to the next branch of the argument,—What are the duties and interests of the English people in reference to cotton?  Don't for one moment believe that the South in the long run can successfully resist the North,—that is, of course, if she has the will. (Cheers.)  It is a mere question whether the North has the will.  She has the means if she only has the will.  You often hear it stated,―1st, that the North is giving way, that it is overwhelmed with debt, exhausted in men, money, and resources, and cannot hold out much longer.  2nd, that the struggle is "so frightful and so hopeless for the North, that it ought to be stopped;" and 3rd, that to "stop the war is the way to get the cotton."  Now is the North overwhelmed with debt?  On the 1st of September, 1863, its debt was 1,200,000,000 dollars, less, less than one-fourth of the debt of England.  You know what the debt of England is, and England is here and we don't hear that England is going to tumble into national bankruptcy.  Why can't America bear a fourth of our debt ?

    You shall see whether she can or not.  It is said that America has incurred her debt in two years, while England's debt has been forty years accumulating.  Well, I accept the comparison—but during that time England raised 63 per cent. of its total outlay by taxation, while America has so raised only 14 per cent.  True, but America (I mean the loyal Northern States alone) have over great Britain as during that period an advantage of 28 per cent. in property, 30 per cent. in population, and 110 per cent. in annual produce.  True, but with their ordinary resources, without raising an extraordinary tax, or burdening the people by one feather's weight, the Northern States could pay off this debt in less than sixteen years!  Yes! the North is still practically untaxed, untouched, undrained

    But to show you the relative resources of the North and South, let me bring the following astounding facts before you.  The increase of wealth in the loyal States alone was, from 1840 to 1850, 64 per cent.; 1850 to 1860, 126 per cent.  During the period, what was the increase of wealth in the seceding States?  Only 3 per cent.; and in that they reckon the increase of slave property, which is in fact their weakness, not their strength—their poverty, not their riches, as you will see hereafter.  And, as compared with the American loyal States, the wealth of Great Britain during that period increased only 37 per cent.  I don't show you these facts to prove that England is weak, because England is strong.  But to show you that if England is strong with an increase of 37 per cent., with four times the debt, how much stronger must America be with 126 per cent, increase, and only one-fourth of our national debt. (Cheers.)  But you may say this increase was before the war.  So it was—and what has it been since the war?  Take the great war year, 1861-2.  The North has never before been so prosperous.  Its material well-being has grown with unparalleled rapidity.  From beef to books, from books to beef, the progress has been alike remarkable.  In that year, the booksellers' circulars show an unprecedented rise in the demand for literature.  In that year, besides supporting all its armies in the field, the North exhorted 80,000,000 dollars' worth of breadstuffs more than it ever exported in any one year before.  In that year the depositors in the Savings Banks exceeded by 28,842 the number of depositors that have ever been annually recorded.  In that year the amounts deposited were 5,618,225 dollars more than any other year had ever witnessed.

    Well, what does that prove?  It is a vote of confidence in the National Government.  And what does the American debt prove?  That every dollar subscribed is a vote of confidence in the Executive, a vote of determination to carry on the war.  Where has that money been subscribed?  In the Western States—from Mexico to Maine, from Oregon to Connecticut; and thus, while the South seeks to separate West and North by an iron sword, West and North are sealing their eternal and indissoluble marriage with a ring of gold. (Cheers.)  If you reflect, you will see that the capital of the North is inexhaustible, alike in land, in men, in bullion.  In land:—one thousand million acres of public lands are still at the disposal of the government.  In men:—24 millions of people inhabit the Loyal States—increasing at the rate of 50 per cent. in every decade.  In bullion:—the gold regions of the North extend 1,100 miles in length, 1,100 miles in breadth,—1,100 square miles of gold-enshrining soil―land fruitful to support a teeming population, leaving its surplus labour to the golden harvest.  Such is the power of the North—such is its wealth.  The granite mountains are its treasure chests, whose ingots illimitable labour coins in the sparkling gold of the waving wheatfield, and the silvery tissues of the untiring loom. (Cheers.)  What has the South to array against this?  An average of 3 per cent. of wealth against 122 per cent., seven million whites and four million blacks, against 24 millions.  Nay! not four million blacks.  The negroes are its weakness.  The slaves require an army to watch them, taking away from the rebel numbers in the field.  Nay! not seven million whites.  They had seven millions, while their confines still remained untouched.  But parish after parish, county after county, state after state, with all their population, white and black have been wrested from the Southern grasp―leaving diminished numbers with perishing resources to meet the ever-growing power of their foe.  Where are the gold regions—where the public lands of the South?  Nay! while the riches of Northern soil become greater every year, the South is decaying beneath the curse of slavery.  Slavery exhausts the soil.  The slave system is practicable only where labour is carried on in masses.  The slaves are trained to one especial kind of toil.  Under this system, the rotation of crops is impracticable, and therefore the planter tries to make as much out of the land in as short a time as possible.  Therefore sugar follows sugar, rice succeeds rice, and cotton cotton—and the soil rapidly becomes impoverished.  The South teems with worn-out plantations and exhausted soil.  Therefore, gentlemen, if there are any here who would bow down and worship the golden calf, and therefore side with the South, I would say to them "Gentlemen, you are fronting the wrong way: turn your backs.  On that side is the gold, the power, the success, and the right as well."  Such being the relative strength of the combatants, is the perseverance of the North equal to its resources?  Let the last vote tell; the Republican majority, the Union party, the party determined to enforce Union and Emancipation in America has carried the least election by majorities such as it has never known before, and where democratic falterers were hitherto in the ascendant, abolitionists and unionists have been elected by overwhelming numbers. (Cheers.)


    Now then, gentlemen, the Southern advocates have raised the cry, in order to enlist the sympathy of the people "If you are in favour of negroes emancipation, stop the war and get the cotton."  "Stop the War!"—so say I—would to heaven it could be stopped on a just basis!—and therefore I say, leave the North alone to stop it.  "Stop the war!"—Will those gentlemen be kind enough to tell us how they propose to stop the war, and how they propose to get the cotton?  I have never heard that yet.  Is it by the "recognition" which they advocate?  What does this recognition mean?  How will it stop the war?  They must intend one of two things; either bare recognition on paper, or recognition backed by arms.  If the former, will recognition alone dismount a single battery, sink one monitor, or silence a solitary gun?  A clever way, certainly, "to stop the war!"  It won't do that, but I'll tell you what it will do—disgrace the English people for ever—make them the abettors of the vilest criminals that ever stained the page of history, and bring down on the heads of those base allies the hatred of the noblest republic the world has ever known. (Cheers.)  No! gentlemen, if we needs must sell ourselves to the devil, let us, at least, get something for our bargain!  I will tell you what our recognition on paper will do.  It won't stop one war, but it will create another. (Cheers.)  They will chalk up another score against us on the National slate.  Do you think America would ever forgive that recognition?  England undoubtedly can hold its own—but, if we are to plunge into a conflict—do let us, at least, be on the right side, not the wrong.  On the side of freedom, not of slavery; on the side of a good government, not on that of unjustified rebellion.  (Cheers.)  But, if their recognition means anything, it means armed intervention.  If it don't it means worse than nothing.  "Break the blockade and get the cotton," that is what it means.  Do you know what that would cost?  England's commerce—swept by privateers from off the seas.  Debt, taxation, and misery for all time to come.  You know the price of the Crimean war; an American war would cost threes times as much.  Who would pay that?  You, the people; you, the shopkeeping and working classes of this country; you and your childrens children through all posterity burdened with a crushing load of taxes. (Enthusiastic  applause.)  Which do you think the most profitable course, to wait a little longer for the cotton, or to buy it at such a cost?  And these are the men who cry out against the horrors of war with forty parson power, who inveigh against the bloodshed and would plunge us into a war and slaughter ten times more horrible than that which they denounce! (Cheers.)  Are these safe counsellors?  They would give us carnage instead of cotton, taxation instead of trade, and want instead off wages. (Cheers.)  But would you get the cotton even by these means?  If we are to have it, we want our supply to rest on a safe basis. If so, I say separation of the South from the North destroys our cotton manufacture—union alone can save it.  Two rivals states, parted against the will of the more powerful, and parted through foreign interference—would never be long at peace.  Every steamer might bring us tidings of a fresh rupture; we should look forward to every mail with fear, not with hope—lest each new telegram should announce to us another conflict—another war—a new blockade—a fresh panic for our cotton mills—and the old battle of misery and destitution have to be fought once more.  And yet you are told, it is to the interest of working-men to recognise the South!  Working-men!  I say the South is your enemy—the enemy of your trade, the foe of your freedom—a standing threat to your prosperity. (Applause.)  Is it for the slaveholders to appeal to working-men for sympathy?  Slave labour is a direct aggression on the free labour of the world.  It competes with you in the world's market, and you must crush it, or it will ruin you.  Not yet, perhaps, but ere long.  Free scope for the development of slave labour would produce such a labour surplus in the North that immigration would become impossible.  Is not America the chief hope and home of the emigrant?  Who emigrates to the Southern States?  Slave labour has closed its portals in your faces—yet it embraces one of the fairest portions of the habitable globe.  But that slave power has shown itself not content with its old dominion.  It has sought to invade the North, it has sought to overrun the West with slavery.  Nay!  "Mexico and central America are open to us," cry the Southern leaders—they publicly avow their intention of spreading slavery among the nations—they are "God-sent missionaries" they say—and their mission is to " extend slavery wherever God and nature carry it."  Help them, working-men! help them to close the great continent of America before the army of emigration—help them to roll back the escaping tide upon our surcharged shores—and to meet it all the better, cripple your commerce by war and destroy your resources by taxation.


    After speaking at some length of the character of the blacks and of their probable destiny in the race of civilisation, Mr. Jones said in conclusion,—I thank you for your kind attention.  It is a long time since I last addressed you, and those were stormier times than these. (Cheers and laughter.)  But I have not forgotten the meetings and gatherings which we had then―(cheers);—I have not forgotten the men of Rochdale, their love of freedom and truth; and I trust that those who are now struggling, honourably and constitutionally, for the freedom of the black will join in every effort for a fresh instalment towards the Charter of an Englishman's liberty. (Applause.)  Those who pat the slave-owners of America on the back would like to be slave-owners in England as well. (Cheers, and hear, hear.)  I believe that those who come forward at this crisis to advocate the natural rights of the negro in America, are really coming forward to advocate the rights of the working men in England—(cheers);—and I trust we shall find that in establishing liberty universally throughout the American Continent we shall be placing the crowning pinnacle on the edifice of freedom here as well. (Loud, prolonged, and enthusiastic applause.)

    Mr. HARLEY moved, and the Rev. L. SEDDON seconded, the following resolution:—

    This meeting hereby records its sympathy with President Lincoln in endeavouring to maintain the Federal Union of America, believing that its disruption would prove a calamity to the cause of freedom and to the interests of civilisation.  This meeting further expresses its gratitude to President Lincoln for having procured the liberation of the slaves in the district of Columbia, interdicted slavery in the territories, enforced the laws against the African slave trade, proposed to purchase the liberty of all slaves in the loyal states, and, as commander-in-chief of the forces, proclaimed unconditional freedom to all bondsmen of the rebel states.  This meeting is also desirous that he may continue his noble efforts, until a safe and enduring peace be established, on the basis of the complete emancipation of every slave in the American States.

Votes of thanks to the lecturer and the chairman brought the proceedings to a close.


* Ed.The First Battle of Bull Run was the first major land battle of the American Civil War, fought on July 21, 1861, near Manassas, Virginia.  Union Army troops advanced across Bull Run against the Confederate Army, and despite the Union's early successes, they were routed and forced back to Washington, D.C.


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