[From the Memphis Herald.]
SLAVERY EMANCIPATION IN KENTUCKY.––Kentucky being about to take steps for forming a new constitution, the question of fixing a period for the gradual emancipation of her slaves, is now prominently before the people of that State. If the citizens of Kentucky were the only persons affected by this measure, should it be carried into execution, then it were well; but as the citizens of Tennessee and other slave States, bordering on Kentucky, and perhaps the whole South with be seriously injured by it, steps should be taken, at the proper time, to guard against it.
It is unnecessary to state, what everyone knows to be true, viz: that one-half the advocates of this measure in Kentucky are influenced by no moral or philanthropic feelings in their advocacy of the measure. It is well known, that should the emancipation project be carried out, not one-tenth of the slaves of the State of their offspring will ever enjoy the benefits of it; and why? Because every slave-holder opposed to, and four-fifths of those in favor of it, will, long before its provisions shall reach their slaves, have them safely plantationed in Tennessee, Mississippi, and the other southern States, or else have them profitably cashed. The truth is, the number of citizens of Kentucky, such as Yankee preachers, pedagogues, pedlars, &c., &c., who advocate the emancipation of her slaves upon principles of false humanity and misconceived ideas of justice, are few, compared with that more influential portion of her citizens who are influenced to give countenance to the project by an unholy avarice and an ardent love for the "almighty dollar."
Northern and Middle Kentucky, or rather many citizens in that portion adjacent to the free States of Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, have become of late years happily awakened to the enormity of slavery and the great importance of immediate emancipation; and why? Because so great are the facilities for fanatical abolitionists to tamper with and run off their slaves, that they are no longer profitable or safe property, and it will be much to the advantage of the State and her citizens if the slaves were emancipated; i.e. either sent South and sold, or located on cotton or sugar plantations and remain slaves of their present owners. Then Kentucky will be a free State; become a densely populated State; the present large landholders will sell off small farms at high prices and manufacturing will be extensively entered into. Her capitalists will possess a double advantage--with their black slaves they will grow cotton in the South and with their white slaves they will spin it and weave it in Kentucky, and then with a high protective tariff, Kentucky will compete with the world. Abbot Lawrences and John Jacob Astors will be as thick in Kentucky as blackberries in the dog-days; and when they come to die, in defiance of the declaration of the Savior about the Camel and the eye of the needle, they will all go straight to Heaven, because Kentucky is a free State.
Some may think this a fancy sketch; and we will not say the few lines of the latter part is not; but the greater portion is true, lamentably true; and it is time for Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana to begin to look into the matter. Already, when a stampede of 70 or 80 negroes takes place in Kentucky, and are recovered, they are at once handcuffed and sent South. Is a negro a thief, a lazy, worthless fellow, or is his master attacked with the colapsis per siona (we assume the right to make latin) he is at once sent South. All this, however, is not so bad. But the main point at issue is this: is the South willing to become the recipients of the whole slave population of Kentucky, good, bad and indifferent, in order that a portion of the citizens of that State may enjoy a reputation for philanthropy and moral rectitude, and enhance the value of their property; and especially, is Tennessee prepared to contribute to a measure, the effect of which would be to open her whole broadside, of four hundred miles in length, to a free State, with nothing but a geographical line between? There's the rub. We venture an unqualified, no! never!! What then is to be done? Let every Southern State, and Tennessee in particular, at once pass laws prohibiting the importation of slaves, and forthwith emancipation in Kentucky will be as dead as a roasted herring.
We intend to pursue this subject at full length; in fact, until the question is settled in Kentucky, we shall discuss it in all its bearings. As a Kentuckian, we love our State, and cling with undying affection to her noble souled and chivalrous citizens; but, when, through the influence of fanatics and avaricious demagogues, they contemplate an unjust act, we feel bound to speak out.
"Slavery Emancipation in Kentucky," Louisville (KY) Daily Democrat, December 7, 1848, p. 2.