Ph.D. Octopus

Politics, media, music, capitalism, scholarship, and ephemera since 2010

Canada: Self-Righteously Lecturing us for 150 Years

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Just kidding. I love you guys. But as the sole American in this blog I have a role to fill, you know…

Anyways. I came upon this op-ed from 1850, from the Montreal Herald, denouncing the recent American Fugitive Slave Law. In all seriousness, Canadians, by and large, played quite a noble role in the fight against American slavery. There are even books about it!

Note here how the author links the spread of American slavery to the counterrevolutions in Europe that followed the unsuccessful Revolutions of 1848. A forthcoming, and no doubt brilliant, dissertation, may build on that theme.

The New Slavery Law of the United States—Our friends in the United States can need no apology from us if we tell them the truth, although it be in language that may grate harshly in their ears. Their virtues we can honestly praise, as we honestly admire them; their political institutions we believe to be eminently adapted to encourage and foster these virtues, and render their people enlightened, prosperous and happy; we were even willing to be “a little blind” to their faults, so long as we could view them as springing from circumstances beyond their control, and while we had reason to hope and believe they were honestly and manfully striving to emancipate themselves from their yoke. But we can have no sympathy with them when we see them, deliberately and ungratefully forgetful of the blessings they themselves owe to liberty, ruthlessly and vainly—for the laws and goodness of God can only be temporarily counteracted by the selfishness and wickedness of man—laboring to strengthen and rivet the chains of slavery upon their hapless victims. … It is then, with sorrow and indignation that we contemplate this palpably retrograde step, this assumption of a new course, which, if persisted in, must lead to consequences more disastrous to the civilization and happiness of the whole human family—as well as destructive to the welfare and prosperity of the United States themselves – than all the success of a Nicholas, or the cruelties of a Haynau, in crushing the aspirations after political freedom of the people of Southern Europe.


Written by Peter Wirzbicki

April 22, 2010 at 12:10

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