« PreviousContinue »
The Hon. Mr. Reid, of this State, in a speech delivered in Congress, Feb. 1, 1820, says :
"I am not the panegyrist of slavery. It is an unnatural state, a dark cloud, which obscures half the lustre of our free institutions. For my own part, though surrounded by slavery from my cradle to the present moment, yet
'I hate the touch of servile hands,
I loathe the slaves who cringe around.""
"I would not have a slave to till my ground;
And tremble when I wake, for all the wealth
Thus have we presented a comprehensive summary of the most unequivocal and irrefragable testimony of the South against the iniquitous institution of human slavery. What more can we say? What more can we do? We might fill a folio volume with similar extracts; but we must forego the task; the remainder of our space must be occupied with other arguments. In the foregoing excerpts is revealed to us, in language too plain to be misunderstood, the important fact that every truly great and good man the South has ever produced, has, with hopeful confidence, looked forward to the time when this entire continent shall be redeemed from the crime and the curse of slavery. Our noble self-sacrificing forefathers have performed their part, and performed it well. They have laid us a foundation as enduring as the earth itself; in their dying moments they
admonished us to carry out their designs in the upbuilding and completion of the superstructure. Let us obey their patriotic injunctions.
From each of the six original Southern States we have introduced the most ardent aspirations for liberty-the most positive condemnations of slavery. From each of the nine slave States which have been admitted into the Union since the organization of the General Government, we could introduce, from several of their wisest and best citizens, anti-slavery sentiments equally as strong and convincing as those that emanated from the great founders of our movement-Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Patrick Henry and the Randolphs. As we have already remarked, however, the limits of this chapter will not admit of the introduction of additional testimony from either of the old or of the new slave States.
The reader will not fail to observe that, in presenting these solid abolition doctrines of the South, we have been careful to make such quotations as triumphantly refute, in every particular, the more specious sophistries of the oligarchy.
The mention of the illustrious names above, reminds us of the fact, that the party newspapers, whose venal columns are eternally teeming with vituperation and slander, have long assured us that the Whig ship was to be steered by the Washington rudder, that the Democratic barque was to sail with the Jefferson compass, and that the KnowNothing brig was to carry the Madison chart. Imposed upon by these monstrous falsehoods, we have, from time to time, been induced to engage passage on each of these
corrupt and rickety old hulks; but, in every instance, we have been basely swamped in the sea of slavery, and are alone indebted for our lives to the kindness of Heaven and the art of swimming. Washington the founder of the Whig party! Jefferson the founder of the Democratic party! Voltaire the founder of Christianity! God forbid that man's heart should always continue to be the citadel of deception-that he should ever be to others the antipode of what he is to himself.
There is now in this country but one party that promises, in good faith, to put in practice the principles of Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and the other venerable Fathers of the Republic-the Republican party. To this party we pledge unswerving allegiance, so long as it shall continue to pursue the statism advocated by the great political prototypes above-mentioned, but no longer. We believe it is, as it ought to be, the desire, the determination, and the destiny of this party, to give the death-blow to slavery; should future developments prove the party at variance with this belief-a belief, by the bye, which it has recently inspired in the breasts of little less than one and a half millions of the most intelligent and patriotic voters in America-we shall shake off the dust of our feet against it, and join one that will, in a summary manner, extirpate the intolerable grievance.
THE best evidence that can be given of the enlightened patriotism and love of liberty in the Free States, is the fact that, at the Presidential election in 1856, they polled thirteen hundred thousand votes for the Republican candidate, JOHN C. FREMONT. This fact of itself seems to preclude the necessity of strengthening our cause with the individual testimony of even their greatest men. Having, however, adduced the most cogent and conclusive antislavery arguments from the Washingtons, the Jeffersons, the Madisons, the Randolphs, and the Clays of the South, we shall now proceed to enrich our pages with gems of Liberty from the Franklins, the Hamiltons, the Jays, the Adamses, and the Websters of the North. Too close attention cannot be paid to the words of wisdom which we have extracted from the works of these truly eminent and philosophic Statesmen. We will first listen to
Dr. Franklin was the first president of "The Pennsylvania Society for promoting the Abolition of Slavery;"
and it is now generally conceded that this was the first regularly organized American abolition Society-it having been formed as early as 1774, while we were yet subjects of the British government. In 1790, in the name and on behalf of this Society, Dr. Franklin, who was then within a few months of the close of his life, drafted a memorial "to the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States," in which he said :
"Your memorialists, particularly engaged in attending to the distresses arising from slavery, believe it to be their indispensable duty to present this subject to your notice. They have observed, with real satisfaction, that many important and salutary powers are vested in you, for 'promoting the welfare and securing the blessings of liberty to the people of the United States; and as they conceive that these blessings ought rightfully to be administered, without distinction of color, to all descriptions of people, so they indulge themselves in the pleasing expectation that nothing which can be done for the relief of the unhappy objects of their care, will be either omitted or delayed.
From a persuasion that equal liberty was originally the portion, and is still the birthright of all men, and influenced by the strong ties of humanity and the principles of their institution, your memorialists conceive themselves bound to use all justifiable endeavors to loosen the bonds of slavery, and promote a general enjoyment of the blessings of freedom. Under these impressions, they earnestly entreat your attention to the subject of slavery; that you will be pleased to countenance the restoration to liberty of those unhappy men, who, alone, in this land of freedom, are degraded into perpetual bondage, and who, amid the general joy of surrounding freemen, are groaning in servile subjection; that you will devise means for removing this inconsis tency of character from the American people; that you will promote mercy and justice towards this distressed race; and that you will step to the very verge of the power vested in you for