Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 36.djvu/352

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Southern Historical Society Papers.

"free and independent," may call for some revision, seeing that man is born, or is by nature, the most dependent of all the animals on earth; and rises to some intuition of freedom, if at all, only through the stern tuition, of necessity.


In the quiver of doom there remained undrawn one arrow which none doubted would go straight to the mark. On the 20th of September, 1865, Oliver P. Morton said at Richmond, Indiana: "Can you conceive that a body of men. white or black, who, as well as their ancestors have been in this condition (i. c, slavery) are qualified to be lifted immediately from their present state into the full exercise of political power? * * * The mere statement of that fact furnishes the answer to the question. To say that such men—and it is no fault of theirs; it is simply their misfortune and the crime of the nation—to say that such men, just emerging from this slavery, are qualified for the exercise of political powers, is to make the strongest pro-slavery argument I ever heard. It is to pay the highest compliment to the institution of slavery. In what condition is Indiana to urge negro suffrage upon South Carolina or any other State? Let us consider the position we occupy. We have perhaps 25,000 colored people. Most of them are very intelligent and excellent citizens, well to do in the world, well qualified to exercise the right of suffrage. We not only exclude them from voting, we exclude them from our public schools," (What a pulpit from which to anathematize the South for not providing the negro with academies!) "and make it unlawful and criminal for them to come into the State. No negro who has come into Indiana since 1850 can make a valid contract. He cannot acquire title to a piece of land, because the law makes the deed void; and every man who gives him employment is liable to prosecution and fine. * * * With what face can Indiana go to congress and insist upon giving the right of suffrage to negroes in the South?" With what face! O, Heavens, with what preternatural face! The face was equal to the fate, with the face of Morton in the lead. "The highest compliment, to the institution of slavery" was offered; "the strongest pro-slavery argument ever heard" by