PLAN FOR THE REMOVAL OF SLAVERY.
Dear Brethren, --I have read with much attention, the very interesting communication from the Rev. Dr. Durbin, contained in your paper of the 10th instant in which he propose a plan for the removal of slavery.
The high reputation which Dr. D. sustains as a scholar and as a Christian is enough, apart from the importance of the subject on which he writes, to secure the most serious consideration for whatever proceeds from his pen. But in this instance, the subject is, of itself, of such gigantic importance, involving consequences so vitally affecting even our existence as a union, that it is impossible not to hearken to such a man when he discusses such a subject. And I am glad, for one, that a man possessing such mental power and moral worth, has felt it to be his duty to lay before the public his closet reflections on a matter which, it is to be feared, there is too great a disposition to leave entirely in the hands of partisan politicians.
Whether the “Plan for the Abolition of Slaver” be feasible or not, it is certainly a matter of rejoicing that some plan to remove this fearful evil is suggested. It shows that the public mind is beginning to turn away from the ultra and impracticable schemes of the abolitionists, and to search, like Noah’s dove, for some ground thus is . . . , and on which philanthropies in every section of the country may cordially unite their efforts. Even should it appear that this preposition will not answer the great end proposed, it will at least answer this good purpose, it will draw out other plans from the . . . men who occupy prominent positions in Church and state, and certainly it cannot be a vain hope that, in the multitude of these plans, . . . one may be found which will accomplish an object which every good man, both North and South, admits to be so very desirable, namely, the abolition of African Slavery.
For myself, I have looked, from the very obscure rank which I occupy, at the fearful evil of slavery, and thought I have not been, and cannot be an abolitionist, in the sense in which that word has now come to be generally understood, yet am I decidedly and . .. an anti-slavery man. The . . . scheme, as conducted by the American Colonization Society has been justly regarded as calculated, by the divine blessing, to effect much for this great object. But of late the fear has arisen, in my mind at least, that the friends of the society are either decreasing in number or declining in . . . At all events, there is now but very little probability that the emigration to Africa, by that . . . , will more than keep pace with the natural increase of the colored race, unless something similar to Dr. Durbin’s suggestion shall be . . .
The magnitude of the enterprise is sufficient to. . . is to the present age. We do not do things now as our fathers did. Everything now is of the most magnificent proportions. In days of old, people were content to receive news by the post-boy, but now we disdain the slow and tardy movements of the locomotive, and communicate with one another by lightning. And why should we not progress with the spirit of the times on this subject too? It was doubtless considered quite rapid enough, twenty-five or thirty years ago, to think of sending the colored people away by the operation of the American Colonization Society, which might remove a few hundreds each year. But now, we should have larger and grander views; and he should be listened to who proposes a plan by which the five millions of African’s children may be sent to the land of their fathers in ten or twenty years.
I fear, however, that the magnitude of the cost will alarm not a few. Six hundred millions of dollars is a mighty sum when abstractly looked at: and the very mention of such an amount may have the effect to make many look at it as . . . beyond our means. But what is it when compared to the vast and almost inexhaustible resources of our nation? Above all, what is it when compared with the incalculable amount of good proposed to be done? It will relieve our country from an evil which is not only . . . our physical and moral strength, but is already . .. agitating our national councils as to put in jeopardy, not the union of the states alone, but the very existence of the republic. It will do more than this, it will throw off the loathsome chains that now bind millions of our fellow-beings it will restore them to the land whence their ancestors were once cruelly torn, and it will send them to that . . . land with a religion which will make Africa’s “deserts to rejoice and blossom as the . . .”
But is it not doubtful whether it will cost so much? Are there five millions of slaves in our country? And would the average value of each be . . . ? I do not ask those questions because I am in possession of . . . to prove the incorrectness of Dr. D’s assumptions, but to solicit information.
We should not lose sight, however, of . . . very serious difficulty. The Doctor’s plan assumes either that the colored people will consent to go, or that compulsory measures must be used. Now those of us who, living in the midst of slavery, have an intimate acquaintance with their feelings on this subject, think we know that they will never giver their own consent to go to Africa. Why, they will hardly believe that there is such a place as Africa at all, much less will they believe that the white man is desirous, and even willing, to take them there. So far . . . it, the notion is very prevalent among the colored people, whether free or in bondage, that the Colonization scheme is only a pretext to blind them, while the real object is to get them off “to Georgia.” If, then, they are to be removed to Africa, it must be . . . their wait. And, though it may seem cruel to compel them to leave the leave the house of their bondage . . . . . where they may enjoy liberty and equality, yet, after all, it is but a seeming cruelty, the beneficial results of which are so vast and so truly Christian as to justify it, with . . .subjecting us to the . . . of “doing evil that good may come” of it.
I fear, Messrs. Editors, that the Rev. Doctor permits his moral and well-known . . . to fail him, when he intimates his belief that the North and South would agree upon this or any similar plan. It ought to be so; but I doubt . . . There are pro-slavery men at the South, so . . . . . .the system is to have persuaded themselves that slavery is a divine institution. And there . .. . . . .abolitionists in the North, who have worked themselves into such a frenzy as this subject, that rather than suffer one dollar of the . . . treasure to be given as a . . . . . . Southern . . . for their slave property, we as they call it, for the purchase of . . . . .blood, and . . . and . . . they would see the . . . of the states dissolved, and the fair and beautiful South given up to . . . . . . . True these . . . of fanatics . . . . . , but so identical in spirit, may not now constitute a majority, . . . even so important minority: yet we may . . . . .eyes to the fact that they are both . . . . in numbers and influence.
I shall look with great interest for future . . . from Dr. Durbin on this subject and . . . to express the hope that he will enter . . . . and press the import-
February 1847-A VIRGINIAN.