« PreviousContinue »
DeWitt Clinton, the father of the great system of internal improvements in the State of New York, speaking of despotism in Europe, and of slavery in America, asks:
"Have not prescription and precedent-patriarchal dominion -divine right of kings and masters, been alternately called in to sanction the slavery of nations? And would not all the despotisms of the ancient and modern world have vanished into air, if the natural equality of mankind had been properly understood and practiced?***This declares that the same measure of justice ought to be measured out to all men, without regard to adventitious inequalities, and the intellectual and physical disparities which proceed from inexplicable causes."
THE VOICE OF WARREN.
Major General Joseph Warren, one of the truest patriots of the Revolution, and the first American officer of rank that fell in our contest with Great Britain, says :
"That personal freedom is the natural right of every man, and that property, or an exclusive right to dispose of what he has honestly acquired by his own labor, necessarily arises therefrom, are truths that common sense has placed beyond the reach of contradiction. And no man, or body of men, can, without being guilty of flagrant injustice, claim a right to dispose of the persons or acquisitions of any other man or body of men, unless it can be proved that such a right has arisen from some compact between the parties, in which it has been explicitly and freely granted."
Otis, Hancock, Ames, and others, should be heard, but for the want of space. Volumes upon volumes might be filled with extracts similar to the above, from the works of the deceased Statesmen and sages of the North, who,
while living, proved themselves equal to the task of exterminating from their own States the matchless curse of human slavery. Such are the men who, though no longer with us in the flesh, "still live." A living principle-an immortal interest-have they, invested in every great and good work that distinguishes the free States. The railroads, the canals, the telegraphs, the factories, the fleets of merchant vessels, the magnificent cities, the scientific modes of agriculture, the unrivaled institutions of learning, and other striking evidences of progress and improvement at the North, are, either directly or indirectly, the offspring of their gigantic intellects. When, if ever, commerce, and manufactures, and agriculture, and great enterprises, and truth, and liberty, and justice, and magnanimity, shall have become obsolete terms, then their names may possibly be forgotten, but not tell then.
An army of brave and worthy successors-champions of Freedom now living, have the illustrious forefathers of the North, in the persons of Garrison, Greeley, Giddings, Goodell, Grow, and Gerrit Smith; in Seward, Sumner, Stowe, Raymond, Parker, and Phillips; in Beecher, Banks, Burlingame, Bryant, Hale, and Hildreth; in Emerson, Dayton, Thompson, Tappan, King and Cheever; in Whittier, Wilson, Wade, Wayland, Weed, and Burleigh. These are the men whom, in connection with their learned and eloquent compatriots, the Everetts, the Bancrofts, the Prescotts, the Chapins, the Longfellows, and the Danas, future historians, if faithful to their calling, will place on record as America's true statesmen, literati, preachers, philosophers, and philanthropists, of the present age.
In this connection, however, it may not be amiss to remark that the Homers, the Platos, the Bacons, the Newtons, the Shakspeares, the Miltons, the Blackstones, the Cuviers, the Humboldts, and the caulays of Amercia, have not yet been produced; nor, in our humble judgment, will they be, until slavery shall have been overthrown and freedom established in the States of Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Upon the soil of those States, when free, or on other free soil crossed by about the same degrees of latitude, and not distant from the Appalachian chain of mountains, will, we believe, be nurtured into manhood, in the course of one or two centuries, perhaps, as great men as those mentioned above-greater, possibly, than any that have ever yet lived. Whence their ancestors may come, whether from Europe, from Asia, from Africa, from Oceanica, from North or South America, or from the islands of the sea, or whatever honorable vocation they may now be engaged in, matters nothing at all. For ought we know, their great-grandfathers are now humble artisans in Maine, or moneyed merchants in Massachu setts; illiterate poor whites in Mississippi, or slave-driv ing lordlings in South Carolina; frugal farmers in Michigan, or millionaires in Illinois; daring hunters in the Rocky Mountains, or metal-diggers in California; peasants in France, or princes in Germany-no matter where, or what, the scope of country above-mentioned is, in our opinion, destined tobe the birth-place of their illustrious offspring-the great savans of the New World, concerning whom we should console ourselves with the hope that they are not buried deeply in the matrix of the future.
To the true friends of freedom throughout the world, it is a pleasing thought, and one which, by being communicated to others, is well calculated to universalize the principles of liberty, that the great heroes, statesmen, and sages, of all ages and nations, ancient and modern, who have ever had occasion to speak of the institution of human slavery, have entered their most unequivocal and positive protests against it. To say that they disapproved of the system would not be sufficiently expressive of the utter detestation with which they uniformly regarded it. That they abhorred it as the vilest invention that the EvilOne has ever assisted bad men to concoct, is quite evident from the very tone and construction of their lan
Having, with much pleasure and profit, heard the testimony of America, through her representative men, we will now hear that of other nations, through their representative men-doubting not that we shall be more than remunerated for our time and trouble. We will first listen to
In the case of James Somerset, a negro who had been kidnapped in Africa, transported to Virginia, there sold into slavery, thence carried to England, as a waiting-boy, and there induced to institute proceedings against his master for the recovery of his freedom,
"The state of slavery is of such a nature that it is incapable of being introduced on any reasons, moral or political, but only by positive law, which preserves its force long after the reasons, occasion, and time itself whence it was created, is erased from the memory. It is so odious that nothing can be sufficient to support it but positive law. Whatever inconveniences, therefore. may follow from the decision, I cannot say this case is allowed or approved by the law of England, and therefore the black must be discharged."
Slavery is so vile, so miserable a state of man, and so directly opposite to the generous temper and courage of our nation, that it is hard to be convinced that an Englishman, much less a gentleman, should plead for it."
Again, he says:
Though the earth, and all inferior creatures be common to all men, yet every man has a property in his own person; this nobody has any right to but himself."
"It is injustice to permit slavery to remain for a single hour."
"With regard to a regulation of slavery, my detestation of its