Page:The Cambridge History of American Literature, v3.djvu/358

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Political Writing Since 1850

actual conditions demonstrated the failure of the laissez faire theory of economics and politics. The remedy was a proper stratification of society through a strong-armed government. Let the state see that men, women, and children have employment and support. To this end let the English Government subordinate the mill owners to the state, and let the state furnish them employees who will be compelled to labour by the government at wages fixed by the state, which will insure a decent living. Thus only can strife and poverty be abolished in England. In our own country, let the government make over the public lands to responsible men, to be entailed to their eldest sons; let the landless and idle population of the Eastern states be attached to these vast tracts of land as tenants for life. By such a process peace and order will be established. Make the man who owns a thousand dollars of capital the guardian (the term master is objectionable) of one white pauper of average value; give a man who is worth ten thousand dollars ten paupers, and the millionaire a thousand. This would be an act of simple justice and mercy; for the capitalists now live by the proceeds of poor men's labour, which capital enables them to command; and they command and enjoy it in almost the exact proportions which we have designated. Undoubtedly this programme of rigid state control was not acceptable to the South; but Fitzhugh's attack on free society and its political philosophy was approved, and his work in revised form was republished in 1857 under the title Cannibals All! or Slaves Without Masters. It should also be noted that Fitzhugh was an admirer of Thomas Carlyle, with whom he corresponded, and that his style shows unmistakable evidences of the great Scotchman's influence.

Pro-slavery propaganda was not confined to teachers and publicists. The clergy also made their contribution. Dr. Thornton Stringfellow of Virginia wrote The Bible Argument against Slavery in the Light of Divine Revelation (1850). The Rev. Fred A. Ross of Alabama in his Slavery Ordained of God (1857) maintained that "Slavery is part of a government ordained to certain conditions of fallen mankind . Charles Hodge[1] of Princeton with learned erudition criticized the religious argument against slavery. "Parson" W. G. Brownlow of Tennessee, in a memor-

  1. See Book III, Chap. XVI.