Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 13.djvu/152

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George W. Cable in the Century Magazine.

But Mr. Cable says: Everybody now knows slavery was a wicked thing In this he is but imposing on himself, by weakly echoing the interested slanders of the enemies of his own people. True, the calculated libel was shouted by our assailants so pertinaciously that the prejudiced, the fanatical and the ignorant (who are many) caught up the word, and echoed it; and this insensate echo, Mr. Cable mistakes for the universal conviction! He should remember, that no established school of philosophy or theology ever held that dogma, until it was invented for a purpose; that no learned expositor of Scripture, even in anti slavery lands, finds it in God's word; that the soberest mind of the civilized world still disclaims it. He may be sure, that the South had examined the question too seriously and honestly, to be unsettled in its convictions by this vulgar clamor of a conquering faction.

What entitles him to be so sure that the Confederacy would have been a sorry and ruinous failure, had it won independence? His facts, we suppose, are such as these: That the same Southern statesmanship and experience, in the hands of the same living men, which had guided the United States to power and glory, from 1800 to 1860, would have blighted the Confederacy. (For it was the constant grief and complaint of Mr. Cable's present friends, that Southern principles and men were dominant in the federation). That the same principles of government, which had so blessed the United States, would blight the Confederate States. For, if Mr. Cable regards the actual history of his country as any more authentic than "Dr. Sevier," he must be aware that the States' rights theory came into power with Mr. Jefferson, at the beginning of the century, and guided the platform of every administration (except the second Adams' and Fillmore's), until Mr. Buchanan's. That for many years, of the most splendid growth, the Virginia Resolutions and Report of Mr. Madison were regularly incorporated into the party creed of the party which made the country great. Or, is it his creed, that the same Southern people, who made the South great, glorious and rich, while groaning under legislative inequalities, must have made their country base and poor, when freed from the incubus? This is evidently Mr. Cable's logic: That like causes always produce opposite effects!

The most curious part of this subject presents itself when we recall the sort of government whose present methods and blessings cause him so to felicitate himself upon a result, which cost the heart's blood and the broken hearts of so many myriads of his own people. That surely, must be an almost heavenly state of good, which a good