The Purchase Price eBook

Emerson Hough
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 262 pages of information about The Purchase Price.

“My soul!” he exclaimed, wiping his brow with a silken kerchief.  “So much for attempting to sacrifice principle—­for expecting to mix Free Soil and Whig!  Damn that Kentuckian!”

CHAPTER XXVII

A SPLENDID FAILURE

If it is easy to discover why there was no special embassy sent by this government to Turkey for the purpose of inviting the distinguished patriot Kossuth to visit America, (that matter being concluded in rather less formal fashion after the return home of the Hungarian committee of inquiry—­a ship of our navy being despatched to carry him to our shores) it with equal ease may be understood why the Countess St. Auban after this remained unmolested.  A quaking administration, bent only on keeping political matters in perfect balance, and on quenching promptly, as best it might, any incipient blaze of anti-slavery zeal which might break out from its smoldering, dared make no further move against her.  She was now too much in the public eye to be safe even in suppression, and so was left to pursue her own way for a time; this the more readily, of course, because she was doing nothing either illegal or reprehensible.  Indeed, as has been said, she was only carrying out in private way a pet measure of Mr. Fillmore himself, one which he had only with difficulty been persuaded to eliminate from his first presidential message—­that of purchasing the slaves and deporting them from our shores.  The government at Washington perforce looked on, shivering, dreading lest this thing might fail, dreading also lest it might not fail.  It was a day of compromise, of cowardice, of politics played as politics; a day of that political unwisdom which always is dangerous—­the fear of riding straight, the ignorance of the saving quality of honest courage.  Wherefore, matters went on thus, fit foundation now building for that divided and ill-ordered house of this republic, whose purification could only be found in the cleansing catastrophe of fire so soon to come.

As to the unfortunate work in which this warm-hearted enthusiast thus impulsively engaged, small comment need be made, since its failure so soon was to become apparent to the popular mind.  The Countess St. Auban was not the first to look to colonization and deportation as the solution of the negro problem in America.  But as the Colonization Society for more than a decade had failed to accomplish results, so did she in her turn fail.  In a work which continued through all that spring and summer, she drew again and again upon her own private fortune.  Carlisle and Kammerer had charge of the details, but she herself was the driving force of the enterprise.  While they were abroad lecturing and asking contributions to their cause—­taking with them the slave girl Lily as an example of what slavery had done—­she remained at Washington.  They actually did arrange for the deportation of a ship-load of blacks to Hayti, another ship-load to Liberia.  A colony of blacks whose freedom had been purchased was established in Tennessee, others were planned for yet other localities.  It was part of her intent to establish nuclei of freed blacks in different portions of the southern section.

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The Purchase Price from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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