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FEBRUARY, 1862.      DOUGLASS' MONTHLY.      597

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The experiment has been tried, and tried, too, under more favorable circumstances than any which the future is likely to offer, and has deplorably failed.  Now lay the axe at the root of the tree, and give it——root, top, body, and branches——to the consuming fire.——You have now the opportunity.

"There is a tide in the affairs of men
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune.
Omitted, all the voyage of their lives
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat.
We must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures."

To let this occasion pass unimproved, for getting rid of slavery, would be a sin against unborn generations.  The cup of slaveholding iniquity is full and running over; now let it be disposed of and finished forever.  Reason, common sense, justice, and humanity alike concur with this necessary step for the national safety.  But it is contended that the nation at large has no right to interfere with slavery in the States——that the Constitution gives no power to abolish slavery.  This pretext is flung at us at every corner, by the same men who, a few months ago, told us we had no Constitutional right to coerce a seceded State——no right to collect revenue in the harbors of such States——no right to subjagate such States——and it is part and parcel of the same nonsense.

In the first place, slavery has no Consitutional existence in the country.  There is not a provision of that instrument which would be contravened by its abolition.  But if every line and syllable of the Constitution contained an explicit prohibition of the abolition of slavery, the right of the nation to abolish it would still remain in full force.  In virtue of a principle underlying all government——that of national self-preservation——the nation can no more be be bound to disregard this, than a man can be bound to commit suicide.  This law of self preservation is the great end and object of all Governments and Constitutions.  The means can never be superior to the end.  But will our Government ever arrive at this conclusion?  That will depend upon two very opposite elements.

First, it will depend upon the sum of Northern virtue.

Secondly, upon the extent of Southern villainy.

Now, I have mush confidence in Northern virtue, but much more in Southern villainy.——Events are greater than either party to the conflict.  We are fighting not only a wicked and determined foe, but a maddened and desperate foe.  We are not fighting serviles, but our masters——men who have ruled over us for fifty years.  If hard pushed, we may expect them to break through all the restraints of civilized warfare.

I am still hopeful that the Government will take direct and powerful abolition measures.  That hope is founded on the fact that the Government has already traveled further in that direction than it promised.  Neither our law-makers, nor our laws, are like those of the Medes and Persians.  They are but the breath of the people, and are under the control of events.  No President, no Cabinet, no army can withstand the mighty current of events, or the surging billows of the popular will.  The first flash of rebel gunpowder, ten months ago, pouring shot and shell upon the starving handful of men at Sumter, instantly changed the whole policy of the nation.  Until
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then, the ever hopeful North, of all parties, was still dreaming of compromise.  The heavens were black, the thunder rattled, the air was heavy, and vivid lightning flashed all around; but our sages were telling us there would be no rain.  But all at once, down came the storm of hail and fire.

And now behold the change!  Only one brief year ago, the great city of Boston, the Athens of America, was convulsed by a howling pro-slavery mob, madly trampling upon the great and sacred right of speech.  It blocked streets; it shut up halls; it silenced and overawed the press, defied the Government, and clamored for the blood of WENDELL PHILLIPS, a name which will live and shine while Boston is remembered as the chief seat of American eloquence, philanthropy and learning.  Where is that mob to-night?  You must look for it on the sacred soil of old Virginia.

Nothing stands to-day where it stood yesterday.  Humanity sweeps onward.  To-night with saints and angels, surrounded with the glorious army of martyrs and confessors, of whom our guilty world was not worthy, the brave spirit of old JOHN BROWN serenely looks down from his eternal rest, beholding his guilty murderers in torments of their own kindling, and the faith for which he nobly died steadily becoming the saving faith of the nation.  He was "justly hanged," was the word from patriotic lips two years ago; but now, every loyal heart in the nation would gladly call him back again.  Our armies now march by the inspiration of his name; and his son, young JOHN BROWN, from being hunted like a felon, is raised to a captaincy in the loyal army.

We have seen great changes——everybody has changed——the North has changed——Republicans have changed——and even the Garrisons, of whom it has been said that repentance is not among their virtues, even they have changed; and from being the stern advocates of a dissolution of the Union, they have become the uncompromising advocates of the perpetuity of the Union.  I believed ten years ago that liberty was safer in the Union than out of the Union; but my Garrisonian friends could not then so see it, and of consequence dealt me some heavy blows.  My crime was in being ten years in advance of them.  But whether the Government shall directly abolish slavery or not, the war is essentially an abolition war.  When the storm clouds of this rebellion shall be lifted from the land, the slave power, broken and humbled, will be revealed.  Slavery will be a conquered power in the land.  I I am, therefore, for the war, for the Government, for the Union, for the Constitution in any and every event.

Ira Aldridge, the negro tragedian in performing with much success in the cities and towns of Russia.  His personation of Othello at Odessa so affected the audience, that at the end of the third act the whole assembly arose and cheered him——the ladies weeping and waving their handkerchiefs.

The free negroes of Virginia, by a law passed by the rebel Convention of that State, are now compelled to execute their part in the service of the Southern Confederacy.——One John Hagan notifies the free negroes of Richmond to meet at the City Hall, January 2d, and enter the rebel service.
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F. DOUGLASS, ESQ.: DEAR SIR:——I wish to offer the public the folloing detached observations on some of the statements of our common friend, Hon. Gerrit Smith, in his letter to Mr. Croswell, as published in your monthly number of the present month.

Mr. Crosswell says, that Fremont ignores the right of property in man; but that Col. Cochrane recognizes it.

Mr. Smith says, that the Abolitionists agree with Mr. Croswell, yet would abolish slavery; and then gives what equivocal credit he can to the charge against them, of folly and wickedness.

Mr. Smith says, the North cannot afford to be divided by miserable party prejudices and jealousies!  But who are so notorious for such prejudices and jealousies, as himself, and his head prophet, W. L. Garrison?

Mr. Smith says, let our one common concern be to save our country.  But there is another and greater concern, viz., that is to save impartial liberty and justice, without which the country would remain what it is, in these respects, an empire of fraud, felony and murder.

Mr. Smith says, that the President was educated to worship the Constitution.  Nay; but to worship a travested, falsified and mutilated thing called the Constitution, as different from the real Constitution of the U. S., as impartial liberty is from the chattel slave system.

Mr. Smith displays great zeal in contending that the Abolitionists agree with Messrs. Croswell and Cochrane.  According to his school of Abolition, perhaps they do.  But the Abolition heart can never compromise with slavery.  The double-minded only, whatever they may be called, can possibly prefer political expediency to everlasting truth and love.

These are, indeed, many, many, called Christians and Abolitionists, who are greater enemies to religion and truth, than honest infidels.  But the whole heart is what God requires, and no single feature, however beautiful, can be sanely substituted for the whole.

LORA, C. W., Jan. 17, 1862.

DETENTION OF REBELS CLAIMING SLAVBES.——One of the Washington letter-writters [sic] says: Gen. Heintzelman has within the past few weeks added to the population of Alexandria several Virginians whose desire to recover fugitive slaves outran their discretion.  When they presented themselves at his headquarters in search of their lost bondsmen, he informed them that the soldiers of the National army were not slave-catchers, and when, satisfied that he meant what he said, they essayed to return to their farms, he declared that he could not permit civilians to go beyond or to remain within his lines.  One of them has, in consequence, been a month in Alexandria waiting for the army to advance to the other side of his plantation.  'Dark-skinned Union men' continue to seek General Heintzelman's camp, but fewer rebel owners visit him.

Secretary Chase has appointed Edward L. Pierce, Esq., of Boston, agent at Port Royal, to collect cotton, and oversee the contrabands.  Mr. Pierce is the author of the excellent article in the Atlantic Monthly for November last, entitled, "The Contrabands at Fortress Monroe."  He was a lawyer in Boston, and enlisted as a private in the three months' volunteers.
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