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abolitionists generally, as the body containing the part of which he spoke; there was another part whom he could not qualify as good people, seeking benevolent ends by mistaken means, but as incendiaries and agitators, with diabolical objects in view, to be accomplished by wicked and deplorable means. He did not go into the proofs now to establish the correctness of his opinion of this latter class, but he presumed it would be admitted that every attempt to work upon the passions of the slaves, and to excite them to murder their owners, was a wicked and diabolical attempt, and the work of a midnight incendiary. Pictures of slave degradation and misery, and of the white man's luxury and cruelty, were attempts of this kind; for they were appeals to the vengeance of slaves, and not to the intelligence or reason of those who legislated for them. He [Mr. B.] had had many pictures of this kind, as well as many diabolical publications, sent to him on this subject during the last summer; the whole of which he had cast into the fire, and should not have thought of referring to the circumstance at this time, as displaying the character of the incendiary part of the abolitionists, had he not, within these few days past, and while abolition petitions were pouring into the other end of the Capitol, received one of these pictures, the design of which could be nothing but mischief of the blackest dye. It was a print from an engraving, (and Mr. B. exhibited it, and handed it to senators near him,) representing a large and spreading tree of liberty, beneath whose ample shade a slave owner was at one time luxuriously reposing, with slaves fanning him: at another, carried forth in a palanquin, to view the half-naked laborers in the cotton field, whom drivers, with whips, were scourging to the task. The print was evidently from the abolition mint, and came to him by some other conveyance than that of the mail, for there was no post-mark of any kind to identify its origin, and to indicate its line of march. For what purpose could snch a picture be intended, unless to inflame the passions of slaves? And why engrave it, except to multiply copies for extensive distribution? But it was not pictures alone that operated upon the passions of the slaves; but speeches, publications, petitions presented in Congress, and the whole machinery of abolition societies. None of these things went to the understandings of the slaves, but to their passions, all imperfectly understood, and inspiring vague hopes, and stimulating abortive and fatal insurrections. Societies, especially, were the foundation of the greatest mischiefs. Whatever might be their objects, the slaves never did, and never can, understand them but in one way: as allies organized for action, and ready to march to their aid on the first signal of insurrection. It was thus that the massacre of San Domingo was made. The society in Paris, Les Amis des Noirs, friends of the blacks, with its affiliated societies throughout France and in London, made that massacre. And who composed that society? In the beginning, it comprised the extremes of virtue and of vice; it contained the best and the basest of human kind. Lafayette and the Abbe Qregoire, those purest of philanthropists; and Marat, and Anacharsis Cloots, those imps of hell in human shape. In the end, (for all such societies run the same career of degeneration,) the good men, disgusted with their associates, retired from the scene, and the wicked ruled at pleasure. Declamations against slavery, publications in gazettes, pictures, petitions to the constituent assembly, were the mode of proceeding; and the fish women of Paris—he said it with humiliation, because American females had signed the petitions now before us—the fish women of Paris, the very poissardes from the quays of the Seine, became the obstreperous champions of West India emancipation.
The effect upon the French islands is known to the world; but what is not known to the world, or not sufficiently known to it is, that the same societies which wrapt in flames and drenched in blood the beautiful island, which was then a garden and is now a wilderness, were the means of exciting an insurrection upon our continent, in Louisiana.
At the session of 1839, the slavery question being under discussion in the Senate, •
Mr. Benton said, I was on the subject of slavery, as connected with the Missouri question, when last on the floor.
The Senator from South Carolina [Mr. Hayne], could see nothing in the question before the senate, nor in any previous part of the debate, to justify the introduction of that topic. Neither could I. He thought he saw the ghost of the Missouri question brought in among us. So did I. He was astonished at the apparition. I was not: for a close observance of the signs in the west had prepared me for this development from the east. I was well prepared for that invective against slavery, and for that amplification of the blessings of exemption from slavery, exemplified in the condition of Ohio, which the Senator from Massachusetts indulged in, and which the object in view required to be derived from the north east. I cut the root of that derivation by reading a passage from the journals of the old Congress; but this will not prevent the invective and encomium from going forth to do their office; nor obliterate the line which was drawn between the free State of Ohio and the slave State of Kentucky. If the only results of this invective and encomium were to exalt still higher the oratorical fame of the speaker, I should spend not a moment in remarking upon them. But it is not to be forgotten that the terrible Missouri agitation took its rise from the "substance of two speeches" delivered on this floor; and since that time, anti-slavery speeches, coming from the same political and geographical quarter, are not to be disregarded here.
What was said upon that topic was certainly intended for
possessor of four thousand-such were the numbers. The rights of the owners over this multitude of human beings was that of life and death, without protection from law or mitigation from public sentiment.
The scourge, the cross, the fish-pond, the den of the wild beast, and the arena of the gladiator, was the lot of the slave, upon the slightest expression of the master's will.
A law of incredible atrocity made all slaves responsible with their own lives for the life of their master; it was the law that condemned the whole household of slaves to death, in case of the assassination of the master-a law under which as many as four hundred have been executed at a time.
And the slaves were the white people of Europe, and of Asia Minor, the Greeks and other nations, from whom the present inhabitants of the world derive the most valuable productions of the human mind.
Christ saw all this the number of slaves—their helpless condition and their white color, which was the same with his own; yet he said nothing against slavery; he preached no doctrines which led to insurrection and massacre ; none which, in their application to the state of things in oar country, would authorize an inferior race of blacks to exterminate that superior race of whites, in whose ranks he himself appeared upou earth.
He preached no such doctrines, but those of a contrary tenor, which inculcated the duty of fidelity and obedience on the part of the slave-humanity and kindness on the part of the master. His apostles did the same.
St. Paul sent back a runaway slave, Onesimus, to his owner, with a letter of apology and supplication.
He was not the man to harbor a runaway, much less to entice bim from his master; and least of all, to excite an insurrection.