Abolition is a much greater evil

Without inquiring whether it [Slavery] be evil, as most insist, or good, as some contend, unquestionably it is a vast, stupendous, and vital American reality. In the Middle States, the temperate zone of American republican continental union, holding together the slave-holding southwest and slave-hating northeast, there should and must be considerate and patriotic Americans enough, independent of all foreign influences, neither owning slaves, nor hating those who do, even if regretting slavery, willing to accept historical, political, and philosophical ascertainment that, whether slavery be evil or not, modern external abolition is a much greater evil. Vouched by irrefutable English and American authority, negro slavery in America may be so vindicated that no American need shrink from its communion. Its abrupt, forcible, or extrinsic removal would be a tremendous catastrophe. Dismembering the United States and destroying the American republic would tend not to abolish, but perpetuate slavery. Few in this meridian have any practical knowledge of much abused slavery. Its English denunciation, adopted by New England, is merely remote and theoretical philanthropy, national or sectional prejudice. Such of us as live in Pennsylvania, where for a long time there have been no slaves, can be moved by no natural impulse to defend their ownership. If descended from New England, the bias must be otherwise. But every lover of his country should desire to vindicate its institutions, of which this is one, from foreign detraction and its American adoption.
~ Charles J. Ingersoll (1856)