“But a poor fellow born in slavery must remain a slave!” he replied.
“He is not lawfully a slave,” I said, “if his parents were both of that cargo. But if his father had received a wife from his master, then the child is lawfully a slave.”
“How do you establish that distinction?” said he.
“The child is born of one known to be, herself, lawfully a slave. It is born under a constitution of government which recognizes slavery; while that government provides for slavery, the child must submit or violate an ordinance of God, unless freedom can be had by law, or by justifiable revolution.”
“I feel constrained,” said Mr. North “to hold that liberty is the inalienable right of every human being, except in cases of crime.”
“You mean,” said I, “that every human being is entitled to all the civil rights and immunities which others enjoy.”
“Yes,” said he, “in proportion to his age, and his capacity. Minors, and the imbecile, are entitled to protection, but may not be oppressed.”
“Ah,” said I, “how soon you find your general rules intercepted and qualified by circumstances. Minors, and the imbecile, then, may not be admitted to equal privileges with us. But are not all men born free and equal?”
“Now let me add to ‘minors’ and ‘the imbecile’ one more class. There are two races existing together in a certain country. One has always been, there, a servile race. The other are the lords of the soil; the institutions of the country are by their creation; they have acquired a perfect right and title to the government.
“You know, from all history, that two races never could, and never did live together on the same soil, unless they intermarried, or one was subject to the other. You admit this historical fact.
“It is proposed, now, by some, to give the subject race a right to vote and to hold office, so that their equality in all things shall be acknowledged.”
“Pray,” said Mr. North, “will you object to this? Has not God ’made of one blood all nations of men’?”
“Yes,” I replied, “but read on, in that same verse:—’and hath determined the bounds of their habitation.’ There is a law of races; races must have antipathies, unless they intermarry; he who seeks to confound them may as well labor for the conjugation of all the tribes of animals. He and his results would prove to be monsters.
“The Anglo Saxon race on this continent properly say to the Negro, ’If by conquest you get possession of the land, we must, of course, succumb to you. We are now in possession, and mean so to continue. Hard, therefore, as it seems not to let you vote in parts of the country where your numbers are such as to endanger our majority, or afford temptation to demagogues to inflame your prejudices and passions by historical appeals to them, and severe as it may seem not to let you form military companies, (which would also be mischievous in the same way) we nevertheless