This is an excerpt from WM H. Holcombe’s “The Alternative, A Separate Nationality, or the Africanization of the South” that appeared in the Southern Literary Messenger in Richmond in February 1861:
“In opposition to the prevailing sentiment of the North, we believe that men are created neither free or equal. They are born unequal in physical and mental endowments, and no possible circumstances or culture could ever raise the negro to any genuine equality with the white. Man is born dependent, and the very first step in civilization was for one man to enslave another. A state of slavery has been a disciplinary ordeal to every people who have ever developed beyond the savage condition. Those who cannot be reduced to bondage, like the American Indian, perish in their isolated and defiant barbarism. Freedom is the last result, the crowning glory of the long and difficult evolution of human society. Few nations have yet attained to that lofty standard. Those who say that the French, the Italians or the Prussians, are still not yet fit for freedom, and are still unable to appreciate of constitutional liberty, would thrust the splendid privilege of the Anglo-Saxon superiority upon the semi-barbarous negro! What folly, what madness!
Man has no “inalienable rights” – not even those of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” If the life he leads, the liberty he enjoys, and the happiness he pursues, are not consistent with the order and well-being of society, he may righteously be deprived of them all. Instead of that “glittering generality,” which might serve as a motto for the wildest anarchy, the truth is, that men and races of men have certain natural capacities and duties, and the right to use the one and discharge the other. That government is the best, and its people the happiest, not in which all are free and equal, but in which equal races are free, and the inferior race is wisely and humanely subordinated to the superior, whilst both are controlled by the sacred bonds of reciprocal duty.
The negro is a permanent variety of the human race, inferior to almost all others in intellect, but possessing an emotional nature capable of the most beautiful cultivation. The greater part of this race, in its native Africa, is sunk in the deepest barbarism. What little civilization a few tribes might have, has been imposed upon them by Arabic and Moorish conquerers …
The Southern view of the matter, destined to revolutionize opinion throughout the civilized world, is briefly this: African slavery is no retrograde movement, no discord in the harmony of nature, no violation of elemental justice, no infraction of immutable laws, human or divine – but an integral link in the grand progressive evolution of human society as an indissoluble whole …
It may yet deserve (the North’s “free society”) the strange epitaph written for this nation by Elwood Fisher:
“Here lies a people, who, in attempting to liberate the negro, lost their own freedom.”
Have we rightly comprehended the fearful import of those words, the Africanization of the South? According to the present rate of increase, in fifty years the negroes of these states will amount to fifty millions. Suppose them to be restricted to their present arena. Suppose them, in addition, to be free. Imagine the misery, the poverty, the crime, the barbarism, the desolation of the country! The grass would grow in the streets of our cities, our ships would rot in their harbors, our plantations would become a wilderness of canebrakes. The resubjugation of the negro, or the extermination of one race or the other would be inevitable, and in any chance our children would be beggared with an inheritance of woe. Let us swear upon the altar of God, that as Christians and citizens, we will resist to the death which might lead us toward this awful abyss!”
Is this a “white supremacist” magazine? It sounds like Derb’s The Talk: Nonblack Version or something out of Escape From Detroit: The Collapse of America’s Black Metropolis.
I was expecting to consult the venerable pages of the Southern Literary Messenger and find proof of the existence of “Black Confederates” and the “Rainbow Confederacy.” What a disappointment!
Note: In the genealogy of “White Nationalism,” Confederate nationalism is the equivalent of the Y chromosome. This is another excerpt from “Southern Civilization, or the Norman in America”:
“This deeply rooted attachment of the Southern colonies to the institutions of the British monarchy, had its origins in the native reverence of the Cavalier for the authority of established forms over mere speculative ideas; and this original sentiment was greatly strengthened and supported by the existence of a domestic institution, all of whose relations had their foundation in a social condition, resting on the principle of inequality and subordination, and favoring a public policy embodying the ideas of this social status.”
In Confederate war propaganda, we hear about “the principle of inequality and subordination,” “inorganic masses,” “a public policy embodying the ideas of social status,” the superiority of “system of polity” over the individual, the rejection of the idea that “all men are created equal,” the superiority of “established forms” over “mere speculative ideas,” attacks on “fanatics” and “system-builders,” “the negro is a permanent variety of the human race,” etc.