August 13, 2013

Editorial: Calculating the Value of the Union to New England, 1863

"Calculating the Value of New England to the Union." Pittsfield Sun, Pittsfield, MA. January 1, 1863. Page 2.


We are glad to see the Abolition Press of this and other States calculating the value of New England to the Union, because as part of that calculation the value of the Union to New England must come to be considered.

We do not attach the highest importance to the arguments thus far adduced to show the value of the Eastern States.  The Eve. Post, for instance, assumes that their superiority in intellect, morals and energy, makes them indispensable.  It is possible that this assumption of superiority has called down upon them most of the odium with which they are regarded.  It says:--

How, then can these vain babblers hope to leave New England out of any future Union?  Can they make a head without the brains, or the body without the heart?  Can they eject from the currents of our circulation that life blood of liberty which the hardy sons of the East have carried into free States?  Have they discovered the old Circean draught with which to turn into dull and obedient beasts the intelligent freemen of the Northwest?  Wherever there is a free school, there is New England; wherever there is a lecture room, there is New England; wherever there is a free press, there the Yankee spirit is found.  Can they “leave out” all these?  Do they hope to expel all that has made us a great, free, intelligent law-abiding people?  It has been often said that these persons plot against the nation’s life; but in this, it would seem, they are trying to kill its soul.

It is of course, silly to assert that the New England people invented or introduced into this country, a free press, or free schools, or religious freedom, or freedom of trade, or freedom of any kind.  The constant habit of self-praise has blinded them both to the part they have taken, and the share others have borne in the establishment of free Government here.  The self-delusion resulting from their own incessant brag has made them deny the principle upon which our system is based, the equality of the States, and has helped precipitate the destruction of our Government.  The Rev. Ward Beecher alluded to the same subject in the same strain at the New England Festival in New York:--

He understood that an effort was to be made to placate the South to induce the rebels to lay down their arms, by our setting the example, and to have the West, Pennsylvania and New York come in, and New England left out in the cold.  He defied them to keep her out.  New England was the pick-pocket of the globe—the pick lock of the world.  She could go where air could go; she could fly where birds could fly; she would be found where the seasons could travel.  Did they think that by geographical and political lines they could keep New England at home?  Why, New England would vex them more by the printing press after she was separated from them than she has ever done before.  There should be a murrain of it.  Did they think they could keep New England’s daughters from being fair, and would they have a league and covenant that Southern and Western men should not love them.  If they would not allow New England to regenerate the rest of the country by her religion, she would immediately marry her daughters to them, and do it by the original process of—(Mr. Beecher dropped his voice to a whisper, so as not to be heard by the score or two of ladies just behind him, and, amid a general outburst of laughter, repeated the word “regeneration,” without first syllable.)  He then sat down with much applause, laughter and cheers.

We do not believe that either the West or the Middle States, or the South, proposes to “let New England regenerate the rest of the country by her religion,” and as to the other process, the statistics show that the majority, or nearly so, of the children born in Massachusetts are of foreign parentage.

The question whether New England was to stay in the Union, originated in herself.  She was the first to proclaim the doctrine of Nullification and Secession.  She has insisted that she was too pure and sinless to be contaminated by a slaveholding alliance.  She has labored for disunion for a score of years; and if it should come eventually in a shape that excludes her, she must ascribe the result to her own arrogance, ingratitude and folly.

We desire no such result.  We go for the Union as it was, which included the whole of the States; and would not willingly lose one.  We do not wish to calculate the value of any portion; and even those States which live upon the Union and contribute nothing to it, have value, as part of the nation, not willingly to be surrendered.
---Albany Argus & Atlas.


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