19 JANUARY 1833, Page 12


. THE resikance of South Carolina to the legislative authority of . Congress, is viewed, by some, as an unjustifiable act of treason . —by others, as a brave and spirited assertion of the indefeasible right of freemen to struggle against oppression. The President, ' in his late proclamation, labours hard to prove, that the infliction which the Carolinians resent is legal. As the Tariff Bills were passed by a majority of both Houses, and received the sanction of , the Executive, there can be no doubt that, strictly speaking, such is the case. But the legislators of South Carolina argue the ques- * lion upon broader grounds, and maintain, that the Tariff Bills are unconstitutional, because, to use the definition of PALEY, they " militate with the spirit, contradict the analogy, and defeat the provision of other laws made to regulate the form of govern- ment." Looking at the question in this light, we conceive that the Carolinians have the best of the argument. The Federal Union was formed for the general advantage of all the States ; not to pro- mote the exclusive interests of any particular section of the country : but the Tariff Bills were passed for the protection of the Northern and Eastern manufacturer, to the evident injury of the . Southern planter. Here, then, is a palpable violation of the principles upon which the Union was formed. The Carolinians, and others of the Southern States, protested vehemently against these ruinous measures, at the time when they were enacted. From 1828 to the summer of 1832, they were loud and constant in their complaints; but offered no direct resistance to the execution of the law, till, at last, they could stand it no longer, and plunged into revolt.

Very few persons in England, and none at all in America, hald the doctrine of passive obedience. How great an amount/there- fore, of oppression a people are bound to endure before they be- come justified in rebelling against established authority, is the only point to be settled. Now it is very easy for the indifferent, and very common for the oppressor, to calculate and fix this amount at what is considered by the sufferers a very iniquitous rate. General JACKSON thinks that the Carolinians are certainly wronged by the Tariff Bills, but not to any very great extent. The Carolinians, on the other hand, into whose vitals the iron enters— who are forced to bear the load which the Northern members have piled upon their shoulders—protest that their wrongs are,intole- able ; and they are ready to risk life, limb; and fortune, every thing that man holds dear, in a determined struggle to be rid of them at once and for ever. Neither nations nor individuals are driven to extremities like these except by the strongest stimulants. But the most interesting question which arises out of the actual state of things is—are the Carolinians likely to persevere? Is their temper and spirit such as will carry them manfully through an evidently unequal contest, should the affair come to hard fight- ing ?—A brief examination into the character of this people, will, we think, induce us to answer these questions in the affirmative; and to come to the conclusion, that if they are beaten, it will not be without a struggle. The character of the native Carolinians is not altered from what it was in the days of their Revolutionary war with this country. The higher classes are generally well-educated, and almost with- out exception courteous and polished in their demeanour. They form a rather exclusive aristocracy ; and manifest considerable repugnance to any close association with the merchants and emi- grants from the North, who are at present the principal preps of the Unionist, or Government and Tariff party in Carolina. Duel- ling is not uncommon among them, and their rencontres of .this description have often a fatal termination. Charleston, their prin- cipal city, was a favourite residence of the British Governors under the old dominion; and there are not a few who look back with regret to those days of aristocratic sway and importance. Then, however, as now, the dearest tics were snapped asunder in the fatal attempt to mould them into chains of oppression. The feverish blood which boils under a Carolinian sun prompts to the most fierce and reckless revenge of national and individual insults. As we descend from the aristocracy down to the small panter and shopkeeper, we find the same indomitable spirit at work. They are less polished, but qlKte as fierce. These are the Ineli who are supplied from Sheffield with the Spanish knives and dirks. In England and in the Northern States of America, a little shop- ' keeper who presumed to fight a duel would be a laughingstock for the rest of his life ; but in the Southern provinces few are so low in the world as to be denied the privilege of single combat. A merchant's clerk, the owner and driver of a stage-coach, the son of the Governor, and the editor of a newspaper, have been seen sitting at the same table d'hôte in Charleston, all wounded in electioneering duels. In fact, these men of the South—these "children of the • sun'—ale familiar with fighting, and do not dread it at all. There is another reason why the spirit of independence is more • than usually strong among the inhabitants of the Southern States. They are slaveholders. BURKE was well aware of the influence which the constant sight of slavery was likely to produce in such minds as those of the white inhabitants of Virginia and Carolina.

• In his speech on Conciliation with America, we find the following passage. "In Virginia and the Carolinas, they have a vast mul- titude of slaves. Where this is the case, in any part of the world, / those who are free, are by far the most proud and jealous of their and appearance, as to inspire his Lordship with a desire to under- freedom. Freedom is to them not only an enjoyMent, but a kind take a forced emigration himself? of rank and privilege: Not seeing there, that freedom, as in countries where it is a common blessing, and as broad and gene- ral as the air, may be united with much abject toil, with great misery, and with all the exterior of servitude, liberty looks, amongst them, like something that is more noble and liberal." These people of the Southern Colonies are much more strongly, and with a higher and more stubborn spirit, attached to liberty, than those to the Northward." "In such a people, the haughti- ness of domination combines with the spirit of freedom, fortifies it, and renders it invincible."

This was true of the Carolinians in 1775; and it is equally so now. They have, however, as might be expected, borne ten times as much injustice at the hands of their fellow-citizens as excited them to revolt from England in the War of Independence.

- But although the Carolinians have the spirit, have they the means of effectual resistance to the General Government? If the other States were united against them, unquestionably not. South Carolina is 220-miles long, 125 broad, and contains about 125,000 square miles, and 582,000 inhabitants. Of these, 316,000 an: slaves. It is evident that she must be overwhelmed, if the whole force of the other States in the Union be brought to bear against her. But her main reliance must be upon the hostile feelings of the Southerners towards their fellow-citizens north of the Potomac. This accursed tariff, this protecting system; has embittered those feelings to a fearful degree. There can be no doubt, we think, that North Carolina and Georgia at least, perhaps even Virginia, will join in the revolt rather than see South Carolina crushed. Should that be the case, forcible means must be abandoned; and a formal dissolution of the Union must take place. The Southern States would then buy and sell at the best markets, and their citi- zens would repair their shattered fortunes. On the supposition that South Carolina stands alone,—that her harbours are blockaded, her troops disarmed, and her principal city garrisoned by the soldiers of the Union,—what would be the speedy result of such measures? Why, plainly, a spirit of fierce hatred would be engendered, that must soon again explode; and a civil war, instead of a peaceful dismemberment, would be the con- sequence of the partial and temporary success of the General Go- vernment.

It seems clear, therefore, that the only way to preserve the Re- public entire, would be to make such a large reduction of duties as would leave little or no just cause of complaint on the part of the Southern agriculturalists. Should there be a certain pros- . pect of this being done—should the Tariff- men be outvoted in Congress—then it is clearly the policy and interest of Carolina to concede something for the sake of peace and union, and to annul her late rebellious act. But if the American Cabinet is outvoted, and the Northern and Eastern States are determined to persevere, at all risks, in their restrictive policy, then it will be alike impos- sible. to counsel and idle to expect Carolina to yield,—unless we are prepared to maintain the Obligation of men to be ruined and plundered in silence and submission.

We have but one more remark to add, on the subject of the probable conduct of the slave population in case of a civil war. Many persons appear to think that they would lay hold of the op- portunity to revolt. The fact is, however, that they would proba- bly be in greater awe of their masters then than they are usually. They would see them all wide awake, well armed, and ready for the combat. The hour of unsuspeoting security will be the one which the slaves will seize for revolting. Besides, the dread of a servile insurrection becoming general in the South is so great, that all differences among the white inhabitants would almost cer- tainly be dropped for the time, and both parties would unite to .:j• repel the common danger. It must be taken into account, that the Northern citizens have many connexions in the Southern — States—that they have large stocks of merchandise deposited there, and own mortgages to a very considerable amount on the property of the planters. For these reasons, we are inclined to conclude, that there is no danger of a revolt of the slaves being encouraged by either party in the quarrel ; but, on the contrary, that both P. would join forces to repress it. ;3