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´╗┐Title: The Alternative: A Separate Nationality, or The Africanization of the South
Author: Holcombe, William Henry
Language: English
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  Africanization of the South.




A Separate Nationality, or the Africanization of the South.

A sectional party, inimical to our institutions, and odious to our
people, is about taking possession of the Federal Government. The seed
sown by the early Abolitionists has yielded a luxurious harvest. When
Lincoln is in place, Garrison will be in power. The Constitution, either
openly violated or emasculated of its true meaning and spirit by the
subtleties of New England logic, is powerless for protection. We are no
longer partners to a federal compact, but the victims of a consolidated
despotism. Opposition to slavery, to its existence, its extension and
its perpetuation, is the sole cohesive element of the triumphant
faction. It did not receive the countenance of a single vote in any one
of the ten great cotton States of the South! The question is at length
plainly presented: submission or secession. The only alternative left us
is this: _a separate nationality or the Africanization of the South_.

He has not analyzed this subject aright nor probed it to the bottom, who
supposes that the real quarrel between the North and the South is about
the Territories, or the decision of the Supreme Court, or even the
Constitution itself; and that, consequently, the issues may be stayed
and the dangers arrested by the drawing of new lines and the signing of
new compacts. The division is broader and deeper and more incurable than
this. The antagonism is fundamental and ineradicable. The true secret of
it lies in the total reversion of public opinion which has occured in
both sections of the country in the last quarter of a century on the
subject of slavery.

It has not been more than twenty-five years since Garrison was dragged
through the streets of Boston with a rope around his neck, for uttering
Abolition sentiments; and not thirty years since, the abolition of
slavery was seriously debated in the Legislature of Virginia. Now, on
the contrary, the radical opinions of Sumner, Emerson and Parker, and
the assassination schemes of John Brown, are applauded in Fanueil Hall,
and the whole Southern mind with an unparalelled unanimity, regards the
institution of slavery as righteous and just, ordained of God, and to be
perpetuated by man. We do not propose to analyze the causes of this
remarkable revolution, which will constitute one of the strangest
chapters of history. The fact is unquestionable. To understand
rationally the events which are transpiring, and to forsee their
inevitable issue, it is necessary to examine this element of discord
between the Northern and Southern people, to investigate its true nature
and extent, and weigh carefully the prospect of its cure.

The Northern mind has become thoroughly anti-slavery in sentiment. Even
those who contend for our constitutional rights share in the universal
opinion that slavery is a great moral and social evil. Those who have
adopted the pro-slavery view are exceedingly few in numbers, and are
regarded by the mass of Northern people as more fanatical than the most
extreme Abolitionist. The press, the pulpit, the rostrum of the North
are clamorous with declamation against us and our institutions. Slavery
is considered not only immoral but debasing to both owner and owned. It
is, they say, a relic of barbarism and a disgrace to an enlightened
people. We are not regarded as equals but are merely tolerated, as
persons whom they in their wisdom may possibly reform and improve.
Churches refuse us participation in religious rites, and a baleful
element of religious hate adds fuel to the fire of political dissension.
From present appearances, the North will before very long be unanimous
in opinion, and if it has the power or can invent the means, it will be
ready to reduce the South to the condition of Hayti and Jamaica, and
expect the approval of God upon the atrocity.

It is unquestionably true, although it be upon false issues, that the
sympathies of the civilized world are united against us. The name of
slavery is hateful to the ears of freemen and of those who desire to be
free. The wise and just subordination of an inferior to a superior race,
is rashly confounded with the old systems of oppression and tyranny,
which stain the pages of history and have excited the righteous
indignation of the world. We are supposed to have proved recreant to the
great principles and examples of the liberators of mankind. It is almost
impossible at present to disabuse the public mind of Europe and of the
North of this shallow prejudice. In the meantime, whilst carrying out
the designs of Providence in relation to the negro race, we must rest
for a while under a cloud of obloquy and abuse. Let us be faithful to
our sublime trust, and future ages will appreciate the grandeur and
glory of our mission.

The pro-slavery sentiment is of recent development. It is more recent
than any of the great inventions which have created the distinctive
forms of our modern civilization. It is more recent than many of the
great innovations of thought which now agitate mankind. The great and
good fathers of our Republic unquestionably entertained anti-slavery
sentiments or predilections, and the flippant Abolitionist thinks he has
silenced us forever by quoting the opinions of Washington and Jefferson
and Madison on this subject. The anti-slavery sentiment of that era was
partly derived from the radical influence of the French revolution, the
mad frenzies of which fearful convulsion, the fanatics of the North may
yet repeat in the Western hemisphere. It was partially also deduced
from narrow, uncertain and sometimes false premises. The lapse of time
has secured us a better stand-point. Africa has been explored and the
African studied, anatomically, socially, morally, ethnologically and
historically. Not only the physical science of man but the philosophy of
history itself has been almost created since the days of the revolution.
The question of slavery has been thoroughly sifted. The metaphysical and
theological as well as the political bearings of the subject have been
closely scrutinized. Liberia is before us with its feeble and precarious
existence, with its little torch of civilization nearly extinguished by
the foul atmosphere of surrounding heathenism. St. Domingo is before us
with its bloody teachings, and Jamaica with its silent monitors of
pauperism and decay. The meagre slave population of the last century has
increased to four millions. Cotton and sugar have risen to an
unparalleled political and industrial importance, so that the whole
civilized world is deeply interested in its maintenance of African
slavery. And lastly, though not leastly, the free negro settlements in
the North and in Canada are social experiments for our analysis and

This pro-slavery party includes, with insignificant exceptions, nine
millions of people of Anglo-Saxon blood. It is diffused over territory
sufficient for a mighty empire. It contends that its principles are
based upon large and safe inductions, made from an immense accumulation
of facts in natural science, political economy and social ethics. It
holds the most prominent material interests, and thereby the peace of
the world in its hands; a wise provision of Providence for its
protection, since those who cannot be controlled by reason, may be
withheld by fear.

In opposition to the prevailing sentiment of the North, we believe that
men are created neither free nor equal. They are born unequal in
physical and mental endowments, and no possible circumstances or culture
could ever raise the negro race to any genuine equality with the white.
Man is born dependant, 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 not
yet fit for freedom, and are still unable to appreciate the blessings of
constitutional liberty, would thrust the splendid privilege of
Anglo-Saxon superiority upon the semi-barbarous negro! What folly, what

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 may have, has been imposed upon them by Arabic and Moorish
conquerors. Left to themselves, these poor people would no doubt remain
barbarous forever; but when domesticated by the white man, they are
elevated and christianized. The transfer in their bondage, from black
men to white men, by the slave trade, was the first dawn of promise to
the benighted children of Africa. It was permitted by God in order to
teach us the way in which the dark races are to be elevated and
civilized. Jamaica and Hayti have also been permitted, as timely and
salutary warnings, not to desert the path which was marked out by

African slavery is therefore a certain relation of capital and labor, in
which capital owns its labor and is bound to maintain and protect it. It
is only thus that an inferior race can exist in contact with a superior
one. In the Sandwich Islands, in Australia, in New Zealand, the
aborigines are passing away before the encroachments of English power
and at the mere presence of English civilization. The free negroes of
the North are dying out beneath the cold climate and the colder
charities of that region. Freedom and competition with the white man
would ultimately annihilate the negro race in the South. The only hope
of the African is in his just subordination to the superior type.

Certain physical and spiritual peculiarities of the negro necessitate
his subjection to the white man. It is for his own good that he is
subjected. As long as this was doubtful or not clearly seen, the South
itself was opposed to slavery. It remonstrated with England for imposing
the institution upon it, and with Massachusetts for insisting upon a
continuance of the slave-trade for twenty years after the adoption of
the federal compact. The South is now fully convinced of the benefits
and blessings it is conferring upon the negro race. It is beginning to
catch a glimpse of the true nature and extent of its mission in relation
to this vast and growing institution. The government of the South is to
protect it; the Church of the South is to christianize it; the people of
the South are to love it, and improve it and perfect it. God has
lightened our task and secured its execution by making our interests
happily coincide with our duty.

We anticipate no terminus to the institution of slavery. It is the means
whereby the white man is to subdue the tropics all around the globe to
order and beauty, and to the wants and interests of an ever-expanding
civilization. What may happen afar off in the periods of a millenial
Christianity we cannot foresee. No doubt the Almighty in his wisdom and
mercy has blessings in store for the poor negro, so that he will no
longer envy the earlier and more imposing development and fortunes of
his brethren. Some shining Utopia will beckon him also with beautiful
illusion into the shadowy future. But with those remote possibilities we
need not trouble ourselves. His present duty is evidently "to labor and
to wait."

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.

The doctrine that there exists an "irrepressible conflict" between free
labor and slave labor is as false as it is mischievous. Their true
relation is one of beautiful interchange and eternal harmony. When each
is restricted to the sphere for which God and nature designed it, they
both contribute their full quotas to the physical happiness, material
interests, and social and spiritual progress of the race. They will
prove to be not antagonistic but complementary to each other in the
great work of human civilization. From this time forth, the subjugation
of tropical nature to man; the elevation and christianization of the
dark races, the feeding and clothing of the world, the diminution of
toil and the amelioration of all the asperities of life, the industrial
prosperity and the peace of nations, and the further glorious evolutions
of Art, Science, Literature and Religion, will depend upon the amicable
adjustment, the co-ordination, the indissoluble compact between these
two social systems, now apparently rearing their hostile fronts in the
Northern and Southern sections of this country.

The only "irrepressible conflict" is between pro-slavery and
anti-slavery opinion: Here indeed collision may be inconceivably
disastrous, and fanaticism may thrust her sickle into the harvest of
death. The pro-slavery sentiment is unconquerable. It will be more and
more suspicious of encroachment and jealous of its rights. It will
submit to no restriction, and scouts the possibility of any "ultimate
extinction." Nothing will satisfy us but a radical change of opinion, or
at least of political action on the subject of slavery throughout the
Northern States. The relation of master and slave must be recognized as
right and just, as national and perpetual. The Constitution must be
construed in the spirit of its founders, as an instrument to protect the
minority from the domination of an insolent majority. The slavery
question must be eliminated forever from the political issues of the
day. No party which contemplates the restriction of our system and its
ultimate extinction can be tolerated for a moment. In assuming this bold
attitude we simply assert our obvious rights and discharge our
inevitable duty.

Now the Northern mind is equally determined and defiant. It has
literally gone mad in its hostility to our institutions. The most
conservative of the Republican party look forward complacently to the
restriction and ultimate extinction of slavery, in other words, to the
Africanization of the South and our national destruction. We will see to
it that they precipitate no such calamity upon us, and we warn them to
look carefully to their own fate. When a Northern Confederacy can no
longer like a vampire suck the blood of the sleeping and compliant
South; when agrarianism and atheism and fanaticism and socialism do
their perfect work in a crowded and crowding population, will not the
dark enigmas of free-labor civilization press heavily upon it, and the
dread images evoked by the prophetic wisdom of Macauley arise
indeed--taxation, monopoly, oppression, misery of the masses,
revolution, standing armies, despotism, &c.? It may yet deserve 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 twenty
millions. Suppose them to be restricted to their present arena. Suppose
them in addition to be free. Imagine the misery, the crime, the poverty,
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 cane-brakes. The re-subjugation
of the negro, or the extermination of one race or the other would be
inevitable, and in any event 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 the first step which
might lead us towards this awful abyss!

If the Republican party is permitted to get into power, the
Africanization of the South may be gradual, but it will be sure. Their
leaders already boast to applauding multitudes that the heel of the
North is at last on our necks. When the power, the patronage, the
prestige of the federal government are wielded against slavery; when
Southern men take office under it, and first apologize and then approve;
when a free-soil sentiment gradually percolates through the South
itself; when the brightness of Southern honor is tarnished, and the
integrity of Southern opinion destroyed, what will be, what must be the
inevitable result? Nothing hasty or violent will be attempted. The
iniquity will be accomplished under the forms of the present
Constitution. Remember that the coins of Nero bore the image of the
Goddess of Liberty, and that a perverted Constitution is the choicest
instrument of tyranny. Lulled by pleasant narcotics, we will pass from
dreams of security, into the sleep of death. Or if we rouse ourselves at
last, and reach out for our fallen thunderbolts, we will be found, like
Sampson, blind and helpless, and they will make sport of our misery. The
silken cords with which they bind us now, will change to iron fetters in
our moment of revolt.

The precedent alone would be fatal. Shall we submit to an administration
which received not a single vote in ten of our States? We could not be
represented in its cabinet, nor in any foreign mission, for what
Southern gentleman of proper sensibilities would accept office at its
hands? The South would be unrepresented at home or abroad. She would
have received a blow, politically, socially and morally, which would
ensure her destruction. This is precisely what Seward, Beecher and
Greeley are aiming at. We are to be coaxed, cheated, legislated out of
our rights and liberties. What cannot be achieved by trickery, will at
length be attempted by force. The most hateful feature in the despotism
which threaten us is its religious element. If we are outraged because
the Constitution is violated and broken, what shall we say of those
hypocrites or madmen who have perverted the Word of God to the most
detestable purposes of man!

The true test of statesmanship, according to Burke, is to preserve and
improve, not to abolish and destroy. We apply this to the institution of
slavery, and are willing to accord it to the existing Union: Have we
exhausted our Constitutional remedies? Is not the Republican party
powerless for injury, and may we not anticipate a thorough reversion of
Northern judgment? These questions, and others like them, have been met
and answered a thousand times by the able leaders of the South. Nothing
but the speedy and universal uprising of the Northern people in behalf
of State rights and Southern equality can preserve the Union. They have
committed the aggressions, let them make the overtures. Is this miracle
to be expected, and are we to await credulously its accomplishment?
Compromises and compacts, the temporary make-shifts of politicians and
philanthropists, will be useless. With what ingenuity the most sacred
compact may be perverted, with what facility the most perfect compromise
may be broken! You may put a new piece on the old garment, but the rent
will be made worse.

The fact is, the Constitution is dead, for it carried with it the seeds
of its own dissolution. The Union has achieved its mission; the last
page of its history is written, and it may be safely deposited in the
glorious archives of the past. The genius of Anglo-Saxon liberty, when
she emigrated to these shores, bore twins in her bosom and not a single
birth. The Northern race, bold, hardy, intelligent, proud and free, will
receive into its embrace the heterogeneous spawn of European
civilization, and mold it to its own shape, and prepare it for its own
destiny. The Southern people are brave, courteous and gentle, credulous
and forbearing--loving friends, chivalrous enemies and good masters, to
whose strong and generous hands alone the Almighty would entrust the
tutelage of his most helpless and degraded children.

The time for our separation has come, and let all good men unite to
avert the calamity of civil war. But at all hazards the dissolution must
come. The evolution of history, according to the laws of Providence,
which supervise even the falling of a sparrow, necessitates it and
demands it. The diversity of character, opinion, interest, climate and
institutions in the two sections is beyond remedy. Each has a separate
mission to fill and a glorious destiny to accomplish. In our present
relations, we incommode each other, threaten the peace of the world, and
retard the operations of Providence. Let us part in peace; let us have
an equitable distribution of the public property and the public
territory; let us have an alliance offensive and defensive; let us scorn
the idea, so mournfully entertained by many, that constitutional liberty
will perish because we are divorced, that representative government will
prove a failure because it becomes our duty and interest to separate.
Let us prove by our wisdom and our courage that those great principles
are dearer and more powerful than ever. Let us emulate each other only
in the arts of peace, in the cultivation of friendship and in the
worship of God.

It is unfair to represent this question as one of secession or
submission. The word submission, in the sense of political degredation,
does not exist in the Southern vocabulary. There is no man in the South
so stupid, so cowardly, so base as to be willing to live in the Union as
it is. There is no difference between us as to the fanaticism and
tyranny of the North, no difference as to the wrongs and injuries of the
South. Some of us would secede at once, unconditionally and forever.
Others would give the North a last chance to abandon her false position,
to make apologies and amend, and to secure us in the strongest bonds
imaginable, against not only the encroachments but the existence of the
Republican party. The difference is rather nominal than real, for all
the conservatives doubt and many despair of proper concessions from the
North. With those concessions, disunion is probable, without them it is

It is the business of the Cotton States to move first in this important
matter. They alone are the great conservators of the institution of
slavery. The people of Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky and Missouri are
unquestionably with us in spirit and principle, but we cannot disguise
the fact, that the tenure of our social system in those States is feeble
and failing. Those great communities must do as in their wisdom they see
best, but we cannot wait for their decision nor promise to abide by it.
Whether they go with the North or declare for a separate sovereignty,
the mission of the Cotton States must be equally accomplished. We
cordially invite their co-operation and believe they will share largely
and richly in the benefits of a Southern Confederacy, and in event of
trouble, we pledge our lives and fortunes to the defence of their

To the professed Abolitionists, that motley crew of men who should be
women and of women who should be men; who see in Fred Douglass a hero
and in John Brown a martyr, whose venom is proportioned to their
ignorance, as some animals are said to be fiercest in the dark; and who
are ready to perpetrate the blackest crimes in the name of liberty and
under the garb of virtue, we have _nothing_ to say.

The Republican party itself, the best and the worst of it, we charge
with having outraged our feelings, violated our rights, and initiated a
policy which, if carried out, will be destructive of our liberties. It
is not an election but a usurpation, and if we acquiesce, we are not
citizens but subjects. The forms of constitutional liberty may have been
observed, but the spirit of tyrannic dictation has been the presiding
genius of the day. Suppose the people of the North were to repeal their
obnoxious laws, to confirm and abide by the decision of the Supreme
Court, to divide the territories in an equitable manner, and to
recognize the equality as well as the Union of the States, what and
where would the Republican party be? Dissipated into thin air, dissolved
like an empty pageant, not leaving a trace behind. With the Republican
party, therefore, as it exists at this hour we have no parley. If it
questions us, we have no reply, but the words of the gallant Georgian.
"Argument is exhausted, we stand to our arms."

To the conservative men of the North, who sacrificed their time,
treasure, interest and popularity in our behalf, and who have proffered
their blood in our defence, we have no language which can truly express
the gratitude of our hearts. Generous and faithful spirits! Stand
bravely a little longer in the imminent deadly breach, which is yawning
between the North and the South, and stay, if it yet be possible, the
bloody hand of fanaticism. Raise your eloquent voices once more for
equality and fraternity, for justice and union. If it prove in vain, as
alas! it will, keep firm at least to your principles and your faith;
work without ceasing as a leaven of good in your infatuated communities;
infuse into the contest before us some chivalric element, worthy of
yourselves and of us, which, if the worst comes, shall mitigate the
horrors of war, and hasten the returning blessings of peace. When we
think of you in the future, we will forget the violence of individuals
and the disloyalty of State governments; we will forget the calumnies of
Sumner and Phillips and Giddings, the blasphemies of Emerson and Cheever
and Beecher, and the vile stings and insults of the aiders and abettors
of thieves and assassins; we will willingly forget them all, and entwine
you tenderly in our memories and affections, with the immortal friends
and compatriots of our own revolutionary sires--with Otis and Warren,
and Hancock and Putnam, and Wayne and Hamilton and Franklin. And in the
fearful troubles which may come also upon your fragment of this
dismembered nation, may the sign of our covenant be found upon every one
of your door-posts, to ward off the destroying angel from your favored
and happy homes!

Southerners! In this great crisis which involves the welfare of the
present and the future, let us be united as one man. Let us survey the
whole question in all its bearings, immediate and prospective. Let us
act calmly, wisely, bravely. Let us take counsel of our duty and our
honor, and not of our danger and our fears. Let us invoke the guardian
spirit of ancestral virtue, and the blessing of Almighty God. Let us
remember that, although precipitancy is a fault, it is better, in a
question so vital as personal and national independence, to be an age
too soon than a moment too late. If we succeed in establishing, _as we
shall_, a vast, opulent, happy and glorious slave-holding Republic,
throughout tropical America--future generations will arise and call us
blessed! But if it be possible, in the mysterious providence of God,
that we should fail and perish in our sublime attempt, let it come! Our
souls may rebel against the inscrutable decree of such a destiny, but we
will not swerve a line from the luminous path of duty. With our hands
upon our hearts we will unitedly exclaim, let it come! The sons and
daughters of the South are ready for the sacrifice. We endorse the noble
sentiment of Robert Hall, that he has already lived too long who has
survived the liberties of his country!


Waterproof, Tensas Parish, La.

Transcriber's Notes:

Passages in italics are indicated by _italics_.

The following misprints have been corrected:
  "opionions" corrected to "opinions" (page 3)
  "improves" corrected to "improve" (page 6)

Other than the corrections listed above, spelling has been retained from
the original.

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