George Fitzhughs’ Explanation of Post-War Thoughts

Since the above was written, an editorial of the New York Commercial Advertiser has been seen by me, criticising my article
on “Land Monopoly ” which appeared in the September Number of this Magazine. The editor charges me with inconsistency
in my doctrines before and since the war on the subject of slavery and of negroes. I shall not raise an issue on this subject,
because in defending and vindicating my consistency I might have to use arguments and cite facts offensive to the North,
and because to write about myself would be obtrusive egotism. I accept the situation. I am entirely reconciled to negro
suffrage and negro legal and political equality: social relations will regulate themselves, and capital and skill will regulate
industrial relations. We of the South wish to be friends with the North. We are trying to conciliate her, and to attract immigration,
skill and capital from the North. Nothing do we despise and contemn so much as the silly, old-fogy Marplots who are trying
to keep alive ill-feeling between the North and South by prating continually about sectional superiority or inferiority, sectional peculiarities and sectional prejudices. Such writing is bad enough in Northern men: when indulged in by Southern men, since
we are the weaker section, it betrays equal folly, vindictiveness, bad taste and bad policy. For my part, from the bottom of
my heart I adopt the President’s motto, “Let there be peace.” The editor does not dispute my first proposition, to wit: That
(as he properly quotes it) “the monopoly of property or capital by the few is the parent of civilization.” Nor does he explicitly
deny my second, and far more vital and practical, proposition, to wit: “That the uncivilized races are incapable of such monopoly,
and hence can never have self-sustaining civilization.” I add, that “a very few (freedmen) will acquire property,” etc. The editor,
with the most innocent naiveté and simplicity, remarks on this: “If any, why not a majority?” I answer : Many of the freedmen
are mulattoes and quadroons, and some of them may acquire property in considerable amounts and manage it judiciously
by virtue of their white blood. I ask the editor, If Chang and Eng be united by a ligament of flesh, why may not all children
be so united? Why are not Chang and Eng’s children so united?

Why are there so few albinos? and why are their children black? Are not Chang and Eng and all Albinos monstrosities
-abnormal, sporadic. anomalous human beings? And are not negroes who make fortunes equally rare, anomalous and
sporadic? Is it not therefore true that the uncivilized races cannot institute slavery to capital, and therefore cannot be civilized?
Does not the editor know that the freedmen, who in great numbers were furnished with the best lands, and with stock and
farming utensils and rations and clothes and teachers, seven years ago, are today much poorer than when they were slaves?
Does he not know that ninety-nine in a hundred of all the emancipated negroes are poorer than when slaves? Yes, he knows
it, and knows that none of the savage races are civilizable, because none of them ever did, or ever can, hold separate, individual, private property in lands, or amass and wield sufficient amounts of capital to give the few dominion over and command of the
labor of the many? We live in the midst of an awful crisis in human affairs. I believe that the whites are about to exterminate
the savage races by assuming that they are capable of civilization, giving them equal legal and political rights, and then throwing them unprotected into free competition with those whites. The weak need protection, and not so-called liberty and equality. I
would arrest the Caucasian race in its mad, cruel and exterminating career. I would give special protection by legal regulations
to the inferior races, and to do so would, as far as experience proved it to be necessary, limit and restrict their rights and liberties.
It is impossible to give to any class special protection without subjecting it to special disabilities. I might think that, by possibility,
I were mistaken in my views if any one would venture to dispute my facts or to reply to my arguments.
– George Fitzhugh, The Freedmen and his Future, Pages: 6-7, 1870

 42 total views