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Gen. Cox On The Negro Question

Gen. Cox On The Negro Question image Gen. Cox On The Negro Question image
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OuKULiN, July 24, 1864. Oen. J. D. Cox : Deak Sir- The peoplo of this plací with entire unanimity aouglit your noHinaüon for Governor of Oiiio. With equal unanimity ivo desiro to promote your eleotkm, We desire to ktow directly from you your viows on the following Bubjects : - lst. Are you in favor of' inodifying our const.itution so as to give the oluctive franchise to colored men ? 2d. In ti, o reorganizatioa of the souttiuiii biates sliould the elective franchise bo seoured to the colored people. Very truly and Hincerely youra, E. H PairouiU, Samuel í'lumij, Oom mi tice, Gentlemen - Your letter of yesterdsiy inquiring wbat are ny opinions upon ome of tho phases of tho questicn of the recoiiitructioD of tho Uuion, wüs received this mormng. I presume we shall agree in regard to four güuoral principios asserted in the ''Fanueil Hall Address," as thoso which should govern the determination of our relations with both whitea and blacks in the rebel States. That there maybeno niistuke in the question I quote thcm : First - The principie tnust be put beyond all question thut the republic has a direct claitn upon the allegiance of every citizen, from which no -State can absolve hiai, and to his obedieuce to the laws of the republic, anything in the constitution or laws of any State to tho coutrary wh ate ver. Second - The public faith ia pledged to every person of color in the rebel States, to secure to them and tlieir posterity forever, a complete aud veritable fieedom. Having protnised them this. freedoai, secured thoir aid on the faith of this promise, and by a suceessful war and actual military occupation of the country, having obtained the power to cccure üie result, we are dishonored if we fail to raflko it good to them, Third - The system of slavery must be abolished and prohibited by paramouut and irreversible law. Throughout the rebel otates there must be, in the vvordsof Webster, " impressed upon the soil itself an inability to bear any but free uien." i'ourth - Tho system of the States must be truly republican. Tho application made of tho last principie in the address I do not regard as sound, but perhaps I shall agree more fully with you than you do with the address, wuen I assert that in a republicun community political privileges of any kind can never be rightly or safely based upon the hereditary caste. How then, it wül naturally be asked, can there be any practical difference between us as to the mode of oarrying out these principies. You, judging from this du-itauce, say, " Ucliver the four nullions of freed peoplo iuto tho hands of their fonner oppressors, now ombittered by tbeir defeat, and they will make their conditioD worso than before." I, sterling from tho same principies, and afier four years of close and thoughtful ohservation of the racea where they are, say I am unwilüngly forced to the conrictioo that the war has has not been simply to " eiubitter " their relations, tuit to develop a rooted antagonism uhich makes their ponnanent fusiou in one politica! community an absolute impíissibility. The solé d fferenoo between iia theu is in the degree of' hoslility existiug between the races and its probable permiineuce. You, assume that the extensión of' the riglit of suffrage to the blacks, leaving them intermixed with the whites, wili oure all tho trouble. I believe that it would, rathttr, be like tho decisión in that outer darkness of which Milton speaks, where " Olíaos empire sits. And by decisión more embroils the fray." The ouly real s:)luíon which I can see is the pcaceable sep;.ration of the laces. But, you will replj, loreign colonizitiou will break donn hopelessly under the very vastness of the labor, even if it were not tyraunical enough to expel these ut:fcrtunate ieof)'e from tho huid of their birth. 1 grwnt the full wcight of tlio ohjeution, and thereiore say the solutiou is thus narrowcd down to a peaceful Separa tuwi of Uie races on the soil where they now aro. The essentia! point in tho discussion thus provcs to be the actual relations of llio two races in the sunthurn States as a (iiestiou of' fact, aud the probable futuro consequences of those relations us h questiou of thoory. ijpon the queslion of fact, I think I may with all modesty claim that my anteccdouts and my opportunitirs for observatioii entitle my testiniony lo luve some weiglit, even with tho most radical anti slavery men in the North The aotagonism of which I have spoken is not eutirely one-sided. On the part of the former master it tnkes the foren of an indoraitable pride, whioh utterly rcfuses to entertain tho idea of political or social equality, nüneled with a hatred ititeupitied by the circumBtances and the results of Ihe war. The feeling is uot coniined to tbe slave-ownors ilone, but tho poor whites slnre it fully, aud oftcn show it more pasrjonately. Ou the part of the freedmen, it is mauit'ested in an uttcr dictrust üf the dominant race, and an enmity which, a though made by eircumstanoes mi re pagsiye and leas openly mauiiested, isas real uud implacable as tlie other. They have the mutüal attracfiun of ract among themxelveH, and repulsión of' tbc whites as another peopl ;, dcvel'i] e ! to a degreo which suiprised me. It is nu os individuals of tl aation co nmon to u all that they Bjeak "f thcmselvcs, but, l uso tlic langu:iirc of ono of tlura, sp.'akng to instlf, they feeithcv " hayèiung been an oppressed and down-trodden peopleP The dtiily aud hourly repetition of proofs of thia fact, innny of thera too subtlo for doscription, but none the less convincing to iliu observer, has fally convinced mo tbat never between Norman and Saxnn, nor between Ciaul and Frank, was there a moro conseious hatrei, or an antogonism moro likely t prove invetérate, than between black and white on our southern soil. The negroes will havo no sense of security nor faitli ra their foriner mastera, even if they ofler tbem politica] rights; thcy will fear thein as iJimaoa donajerentes. What does history toach us in regard to tho permflnenoe and durabllity of such prejudices and eumitics of thu race ? Speaking on this subject, Auguatin Tbierry saya : " Whatövor degree of territorial unity the gieat modern States of Europe may appenr to havo attained ; whatever may be the eomraunity of maoners, language, and public feeling whioh the habit of living 'under tho same government, and in Uie same stato ol omlizatioD, bas introduced among the inhabitants of each of the&e States, there is scarcely ono of them which does not even now present traces of the diversity of the races ol uien, which in course of time havo coma together in it. This varioty shows itself under different aspects, wilh features more or less marked. Sometimos it ia a complete separa tion of idiome, of local traditions, of politica! seutimeuts, and a sort of instinctive enmity distiiiffaisuinw from the great national mass the population of a few smiill distriets; and sometirnes a mere differenco of dialect or even of accent, inarks, though moro feebly, the limit of tho settlernents of races of men once thoroughly distitict aud hostile to each other." If fifteon ceuturies of eomnion government aud politica! uuion have uot been able t j oblitérate the distinctions and even tho '; insünctive onmily " of races which wero pbysically similar, what encouragetnent have we tliat success will atteud a forced political fusioa of bitterly hostilu races hom the antipodes of the human fatnily ? As, durinu: those weary years of war, I have pondered tliis problera in the intervals of strife or by the oamp-fire at night, I have been more and more impelled to the belief that tho only is of permanent uationality is to be fouad ia complete homogencity of pooplo, of manners, and of laws. Tbc rapid fusión. of the races of western Europa as thay meet upon our shores, has seeuiuil tha former of these requisi'es, and the Yaukee race (I adopt the epithet as an honorable oue) marked as it ia with silent oharacteristics, is so complete an nmaigamation of all families from tho eastern bounclary of Gcrmany to tho western coast of ireland, that there are few of us in whoso veins aro not mixed the blood of several. But this unhüppv race of whioh we are speukiug does not amalgámate with the rest. Ii is ontirely immaterial to discuss why it is so ; tho fact no one can deny ; nor can it be denicd that its salvation or its destrucliou will surely be workd out in its family isolatiou. Because there could be no real unitv of people betweon the southern whites and the southern blacks, it seema manifest to me that there uould bo no political unity, but rather a strife lor the mastery, in which the one or tho other would go to the wall. The struggle for tho supremacy would be direct and inmediato, aud I seo do hope whatover that the weuker ruco would not be reduccd to Lopeless subjection, or utterly desrroyod. There is no rcason to suppose that Missouri border ruffianism could never be repeated ou new fields, and the strife once iuauguratcd the merciless war would conünue as long as the obnosious race had au existence. You have expressed youi anticipation of such a retmlt n ono dtato of the case, how is it that you do not eee that direct struggle for power at the ballot-box would wake tho contest more deadly ? I have watched with deep interest the educatioual effect of the war upon our own army, and 1 assure you that whilst our white soldiers havo uuiforrnly and quickly learned to approciate the fact that the existence of our free govern-mout could only be pieservcd by tho de. struction of the system of slavery, and so beca me radioally and thoroughly anti-slavery, tho tendency of battling for the old flag was almost equdlly ur.iiorm in increasing and deepeuing their prido of race. Tho fact is ouo whiuh cannot safely be overlookod in any calculation involving their act i on upon tho political problema beforo ihe countiy, and it is one in regard to which I think I oan hardly be mistaken. Tho details of any system of separation could only be doterinined by oareful study and a wide comparison of view.". Suppose, however, that without broaking up the organization of any State, you take oontiguous territory ia South Carolina, Georgia, Alabnma, and Florida, and there, nnder the sovereignty of the United States, and with a!l tho facilities which the power and woalth of tho government can give. we organiza the freedmen in a dopendenoy of the Union analogons to the western territories. Give them schools, law- facilitating the ao'jtrireinent of home.steads, to be paid for by their own labor, ftill and exclusivo polilioal privileges, aided at the start, hoüld it sx'in Beoessary by wise selections from the largfst brains and most philanthropic haarta among anti-slaverymen, to joiu them, a judiciary or cxecutive which wónl'i of)i).mand their oonfidenco in the rirst essays of poliiioal exi-itenoe. There need be no ooereive oollection of the ooloréd raeo in the designated roción; tho innjor tv arq there1 uow, and the rewárd óf pul tioaj fnicoT wfttiM draw toUher the rormtndar illi ■-■■ tboir placo pould be hu, . . ■ ■ i in ui ij hit i on itito other' Bfdfces. The ft i'-i and soaport oi'ioj (vul! r ; ti eot control ol the federal govorntnont, aa t!io b;isis for I I ooinmon trrij urn! ii'eivn-sa ith ■. ! of tliö country in tha woi ■ ítouIí ■ .■ necess.v.-y. T fuliust npportiiuitv to develnp the high 4I ai-o oapshle nf, would thon be givcü. (Jolored men of tnjnt .■:[!(! ii e nould not thon iñko vííh ptruggie tor Uio empty risms (.; benig without iuiui'a, or uiern'n'A- I , bot would bavu' ■ lii ournal ot' tho esst hxs fre . ■ . imsndijii for tl-.en), tbe op I ij'i'if liinity, as i! ■ .■ tho right, to rank j ttooorditiq; t" thoir risal oharauter auJ i ubífiiy. lt haj seemeu to tue thnt tho golntiqn 1 hnve offí'red rilti us if üiOft of the; oiJfiitultitiB in way. It givos to t.iie h!,'ick llüui póütiotjl iigl]!.i and írsiic'ii.-íCH wr; öi Lerwi9; it reduces tke i ■- , ■ ■ , ■.-tit.-ition if tho sou.l;er:i whitra [JQpcï bai, thoic own nuuibers ; i; Kturres itie [cn:iancifi pesutQ 'jf tlio ' e'rni.ucï I id t lio iiüegifiuct) of t ht i pi. , La ; nlj sure guarfinty, viz: that i-: üVifinnon interest aud id'sntity of in Mtit'.itiuiiH. What more woaI4 vou have? ■ l.i á worth tii'j vibile 'to conaidpr ttmt iii riürh n place oa I havo suggested, j tjiero is tliut whioh Í3 likely to aUrnut I ei) ópui'alïon ou tbe part of refleoiing h in tho Southern States. Thoro cSn b tu i ques'ion that sonuj 'portion of j i'..i', soot'iGiial bittérufess which fjnally led tb i ".ini] and war, was ctuisod by r. mro or lesa die tír.ct perception of otfltieij üko these we aro consiaeríogf, ihixú whíuh tbsy savv no rensoüable outlët, ánfl thnt t-ny plan whieh röoognize.s the f'acts I havo stnted, and endeavora to próvido theui ao as to soeuro barmony (id pi'ospurity íd tha S u til wíl! sooa fina advocates thare. I do not rtiüntion i tilín as an ira . tu t ai'gu'.nont, Because I fülly f.coept tb'j respons:biity which j dio lüilitary subjagatioQ of tbe rbol territoriea has iuiposed upon us, to t!etfirniine tho uiat'fef by tho coubeels and i ti o aotion of thoaé wbo híivo beon truly loyu], and nt by thosa of the dislóyal ol yi h r sectí ín Wo musí, howevcr, ititnetnber tbo ultimato object we nuil at mu-it bo to return the peopie of tlie Soulh to theïr relations f o thó fadoral overnment as equal md full partieipators in its righ',8 and bloasinge. Tbrougb what delays or intermedíate steps, their owi nttioii under tbe experimental organizution granteíl hy tbe president, ínfst ileteriuine. But in tho end, tho ge i ia nf our institations will toleróte no uncqunl or seotional laws. rl'ha hoir.ogtüiiiy must bo mado porfect andoomp!ete. for neither subject provínoos nor mil. ary r iconsulshrips can long co-exisí witli republiuáu government. Very renpjctfully, your obedieot servan t, Mews E. 1T, Faircbild, Samuel Plumb, Committee, &c , überlin, Obio.


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