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NATIONAL LIBERTY CONVENTION,
HELD AT BUFFALO, N. Y.,
JUNE 14th & 15th, 1848;
RESOLUTIONS AND ADDRESSES
ADOPTED BY THAT BODY, AND
SPEECHES OF BERIAH GREEN AND GERRIT SMITH
ON THAT OCCASION.
UTICA: S. W. GREEN;
MODEL WORKER OFFICE, 38 & 40 GENESEE STREET, THIRD STORY.
The call for the Liberty Convention held at Auburn, January 12 and 13, 1848, suggested the propriety of holding a National Convention at Buffalo, the then coming June. The Auburn Convention itself passed a resolution concurring in that suggestion, and calling such a Convention, at Buffalo, on the 14th and 15th of June, 1848. Pursuant to the suggestion and resolution, a Convention assembled at Buffalo, at the designated time, at 9 o'clock, A. M., of Wednesday, the: first day, in the Court House. JOHN CURTIS, of Ohio, was appointed Chairman pro tem. The Throne of Grace was addressed by Beriah Green. S.W. Green was selected Secretary pro tem. On motion, a Business Committee of nine was appointed by the Chair, consisting of
Gerrit Smith of New York,
Beriah Green " "
David Plumb " "
A. N. Cole " "
G. W. Clark of New York,
Elizur Wright, " Massachusetts.
E. Roberts " Ohio,
C. C. Foote " Michigan,
R. Alberty of Illinois.
Business Committee retired. A Committee on nominating permanent officers for the Convention was, on motion, appointed by the Chair, consisting of A. S. Sampson, William Shattuck, W. D. Babbitt, M. Merrick, John W. Alberty.
On motion, George Bradburn, of Massachusetts, was added to the Business Committee. On motion, H. H. Garnet, of New York, was added to the same committee. So were George F. Horton, of Pennsylvania, and William H. Childs, of New York.
The committee on nominations reported as follows:
JOHN CURTIS, of Ohio, President.
GEORGE BRADBURN, of Massachusetts, Vice President
JOSEPH PLUMB, of New York, Vice President
SAMUEL W.GREEN, of New York, Secretary
HIRAM P. CROZIER, " ", Secretary
The report of the Committee was accepted, and amended by adding the name of H.H. GARNETT to the list of Vice Presidents. Moved and seconded that the name of C. O. SHEPARD be also added to the list of Vice Presidents. After some conversation with Mr. S.
as to his position, the motion and second were withdrawn, and the report of the committee adopted. Remarks were made by the President, by various members of the Convention, and others. The Business Committee returned and announced themselves ready to report, when the Convention, at half past 12, M., adjourned to 2 o'clock in the Oberlin Tent, which had been pitched on the corner of Eagle and Ellicott streets.
AFTERNOON SESSION, 2 O'CLOCK.
Convention met in the Tent, and was called to order by the President. A Letter to the Convention from gentlemen in Lorain county, Ohio, was read, and will be found on a subsequent page. Song by G. W. Clark and Brother. The Business Committee, through their Chairman, Gerrit Smith,reported Resolutions, an Address to the Colored People of the Northern States, and an Address to the People of the United States. The Report was accepted.
On motion, Resolved, That the Resolutions and Addresses be thrown open to discussion at once and as a whole. Song by G. W. Clark. George Bradburn addressed the Convention in favor of the report of the Business Committee. So did H. H. Garnett. Frederick Douglass was called for by, the meeting, and offered objections to the view of the Constitution taken in the Address. He was replied to by George Bradburn, Gerrit Smith, Elizur Wright, Beriah Green, &c. Adjourned till 9 o'clock, Thursday morning.
THURSDAY MORNING, 9 O'CLOCK, A. M.
Convention called to order by the President, and opened with prayer by A. N. Cole. Song by G. W. Clark. Discussion on the Resolutions and Addresses resumed; and carried on by Beriah Green, H. H. Garnett, Gerrit Smith, Elizur Wright, &c. Adjourned to 2 o'clock, P. I11.
AFTERNOON SESSION, 2 O'CLOCK.
Song by G. W. Clark. On motion, Resolved, to proceed to nominate candidates for President and Vice President, at 5 P. M., this day. A collection was taken up to defray the expenses of the Convention. Speeches by H. H. Garnett, Frederick Douglass, C. O. Shepard, George Bradburn, &c. At the appointed time, the Convention proceeded to ballot for candidates. The. Secretaries were directed to act as tellers. 104 votes were cast, making 53 necessary to a choice. The vote stood
For Gerrit Smith, 99
For Beriah Green, 2
For Frederick Douglass,1
For C. C. Foote,1
For Amos A. Sampson,1
GERRIT SMITH, having received a majority of the votes cast, was declared nominated.
Mr: Smith rose and thanked the Convention for the great honor had done him. But, he could not acquiesce in the nomination. He had never held a civil office; and he did not expect ever to hold one. Not to speak of other obstacles in the way of his taking office, the tastes, inclinations, and habits which he bad acquired in his very secluded life, are all foreign to it. His repugnance to public life is so so strong, as, of itself, to unfit him for it. He begged, that his friends might name him for no civil office whatever; and, that, they might feel with him, that the labors to which Heaven calls him, are, exclusively, private labors.
Mr. S. took his seat. The President of the Convention rose, and asked him, whether, in case he should ever find himself elected to the Presidency of the United States, he would not enter upon the duties of the office. Mr. S. rose, and replied, that, with all deference to the President of the Convention, he must nevertheless, regard the question as not a pertinent one. What man is there before me, or woman, either, said Mr. Smith, who, if possessed of the powers of the President of the United States, would be such a traitor to God and man, as to refuse to wield powers, which could be wielded so effectively against various forms of oppression ? - so effectively, in a word, for the relief and happiness of man and the glory of God? There is no such man, of woman. But it does not follow, that you may, therefore, nominate one of them for the Presidency, who is both unwilling and unfit to be President. My willingness to act as President, were I to find myself President, I admit; - but, it does not follow, that, against my sense of propriety, and, in spite of my unfitness for the office, I should be elected to it.
Whereupon, on motion of Beriah Green, seconded by David Plumb, GERRIT SMITH was declared unanimously nominated. Song by G. W. Clark. Prof. Wright offered the following sentiment :
"Smiths have wrought since Time began,
Sometimes forging chains for man;
Ours who now the anvil smites
Cuts the chains from human rights.
Let us blow for him to strike,
For he treats all chains alike.
Severed by his trusty hand,
Fall they both from limb and land."
The Convention then proceeded to nominate a candidate for Vice President. 84 votes were cast, making 43 necessary to a choice.
John Curtis received, 3
C. C. Foote " 44
Geo. Bradburn " 12
Lucretia Mott " 5
Beriah Green " 3
Saml. R. Ward " 12
C. O. Shepard " 3
Edward Smith "1
Fred. Douglass "1
On Motion of E. M. K. Glen, seconded by G. Smith, CHARLES C. FOOTE was declared unanimously nominated; Mr. Foote, before the question was put, requesting the Convention to substitute some other name.
On motion of Gerrit Smith, seconded by H. P. Crozier, the whole report of the Business Committee was adopted.
On motion of J. Hitchcock, seconded by G. W. Clark,
Resolved, That while France, in her selection of such men as LAMARTINE and his associates to administer her government gives evidence that with her, the Philanthropist is being regarded as superior to the Despot: that with her the "good time" has come: we hail the nominations of Gerrit Smith by such numbers of such men, with such unanimity, as prophetic that in America too, Philanthropy is coming in the ascendant: - as prophetic, that here "there is a good time coming."
On motion of H. P. Crozier, seconded by William Shattuck.
Resolved, That Elias S. Gilbert, Hiram Pitts, Abram Pennel, Geo. W. Clark and Wm. D. Babbitt be a National Committee, to collect funds, employ agents, call conventions, and transact other business competent to such a committee.
On motion of A. S. Sampson, seconded by E. M. K. Glen, the names of George Bradburn, of Massachusetts, and John Curtis, of Ohio, were added to the National Committee.
The President returned thanks to the Convention for their good order and law-abiding spirit. After prayer by Beriah Green, the Convention adjourned sine die.
JOHN CURTIS, President.
GEORGE BRADBURN, Vice President
JOSEPH PLUMB, Vice President
H. H. GARNETT, Vice President
S. W. GREEN, Secretary
H. P. CROZIER, Secretary
WHEREAS, there was a National Liberty Party Convention, held in this city in 1843, and another in 1847, and whereas, whilst the former rose so high in principle, as to declare that Slavery - the crime of crimes - cannot be legalized, the other sunk so low in expediency, as to refuse to call it unconstitutional: and whereas, whilst the former honored the Liberty Party, by choosing for a Presidential Candidate the noble and spotless James G. Birney, who so ably and faithfully represented all the principles of that Party, the latter disgraced, and
virtually abandoned the Liberty Party, by its nomination to the Presidency of John P. Hale, who holds not a single one of the distinctive principles of that Party: and whereas, whilst the latter Convention stultified itself by refusing to say, that the Liberty Party is a permanent party, and, therefore, bound to attend to all the political interests of the country the former Convention manifested its integrity and good sense, by adopting Resolutions--
1st. That the Liberty Party has not been organized for any temporary purpose by interested politicians, but has arisen from among the people, in consequence of a conviction, hourly gaining ground, that no other party in the country represents truly the principles of American liberty, and the true spirit of the Constitution of the U. States.
2d. That the Liberty Party has not been organized merely for the overthrow of slavery. Its first and most decided effort must indeed be directed against slaveholding, as the grossest and most revolting farm of despotism, but it will also carry out the principles of equal rights into all their practical consequences and applications, and support every just measure, conducive to social and individual freedom.
3d. That the Liberty Party is nova sectional party, but a National party, has NOT originated in a desire to accomplish a single object, but in a comprehensive regard to the interests of this whole country - is not a new party or a third party but is the party of 1776, reviving the principles of that memorable era, and striving to carry them into practical application.
1. Resolved, therefore, That, in the light of these opposite and characteristic proceedings, we cannot hesitate to decide, that the Convention of 1843 was a genuine, and that of 1847 a spurious, Liberty Party Convention; and that, whilst the memory of the former should be cherished, that of the latter should be loathed by every lover of the true Liberty Party.
2. Resolved, That the Liberty Party is not a temporary but a permanent party - not a piece-of-an-idea party, but the whole-of-an-idea party - not bound to carry out the one idea of political justice against slavery only, but against wars, tariffs, the traffic in intoxicating drinks, land monopolies, and secret societies, and whatever else is opposed to that comprehensive, great and glorious One Idea.
3. Resolved, That the slaveholder, as such, has no rights, and that slaveholding laws are no laws; - that the one is but a pirate, and the other but the bloody code of his bloodiest piracy; - and that every constitution, or compact, or religion, which justifies this pirate, or upholds the piracy, merits nothing better than the utmost contempt, and the deepest execration.
4. Resolved, That we deeply sympathise with our seventy-seven brothers and sisters, who recently made an unsuccessful attempt to escape from their bondage in the District of Columbia; and also with the three men who are suffering imprisonment for having favored that attempt.
5. WHEREAS, G. Bailey, Jr., the Editor of a paper which passes
with many, though very unjustly, for a National Liberty Party paper, and, whereas, John P. Hale, the Presidential candidate of a party which passes with many, though very unjustly, for the Liberty Party, do both of them resent the charge of having favored this attempt, and do (both of them) virtually condemn and stigmatize all concealed, and, therefore, all help to the escaping slave: Resolved, therefore, that in so doing they represent not the heart of the true Liberty Party, nor the heart of any true man, and much less the heart of the true God; but do, on the contrary, betray their insensibility to the highest and holiest claims, if not, indeed, to the fact itself, of human brotherhood and human unity, and prove themselves to be the victims of that false education, which has more respect for laws and social arrangements, even when founded in open, malignant hatred and contempt of man, than for any or all of his most sacred rights.
6. Resolved, That God helping us, no man shall be a candidate of the Liberty Party who is not also a representative of the Liberty Party and that John P. Hale, with his belief in the constitutionality of slavery - even of slavery in the District of Columbia, as is inferable from a late debate in the Senate, the same debate in which he was so unwilling to be construed as denying the right of property in man - and with his belief in the rightfulness of voting for pro-slavery men, and in the wrongfulness of aiding the flight of the slave, and with his confinement of his anti-slavery within the limits of moral suasion, can no more be the representative of the Liberty Party than can John C. Calhoun or James K. Polk.
7. Resolved, That we congratulate the friends of the slave on the large amount of anti-slavery truth which has been so ably and fearlessly spoken during the present session of Congress, by Messrs. Hale, Palfrey and Giddings.
8. WHEREAS, some of us, nearly a year ago, began to learn, both from lips and letters, of the plot of professed members of the Liberty Party to break it up; and, whereas, some of us could not doubt that the nomination of John P. Hale by the Liberty Party Convention last October, and the recalling by that Convention of some of the strongest testimonies and the renunciation by it of some of the most vital doctrines of the Liberty Party, were the beginning of the development of this plot; and, whereas, we have lamented the dullness. of thousands of the sincere members of the Liberty Party to perceive, in the proceedings of that Convention, fruits of this plot, and their unwillingness to believe in its existence - Resolved, therefore, that we rejoice that at last all have tangible and unequivocal evidence of its existence, in the Circular recently put forth by Samuel Lewis, Stanley Matthews and S. P. Chase, among other professed members of the Liberty Party, and commended by Dr. Bailey as "liberal and judicious," and as warmly, as artfully, commended by the Boston Emancipator also - the same Samuel Lewis who, with this plot then in his heart, consented to preside over the aforesaid Convention, and the same Stanley Matthews who, with this plot then in his heart, con-
sented to be one of the Secretaries, and the same S. P. Chase who, with this plot then in his heart, consented, to be a member, and was, indeed, one of the most influential members of the aforesaid Convention ; and the same Dr. Bailey, who, doubtless, an originator of the plot, edits the Paper, which might better pass for almost anything else, than the National Liberty Party Paper; and the same Boston Emancipator, which, once entitled to the confidence of the Liberty Party, is, now, using that confidence to destroy the Liberty Party.
9. WHEREAS, the foregoing Circular, (more fully explained by the Letter of Samuel Lewis, which heralded it, than by itself,) calls on Liberty Party men, as, in fact, does John P. Hale's Letter of Acceptance, to abandon the Liberty Party, and go with and for Whigs and Democrats on the basis of the Wilmot Proviso; and, whereas, this call, already responded to by many professed Liberty Party men in. various States, will, doubtless, be brought to the knowledge of the whole Liberty Party: Resolved, therefore, that there will, now, be an effectual trial of the question, whether the masses of the Liberty Party are ready to follow the Hales and Lewises and Chases and Matthews' and Baileys, or whether they prefer to abide in the Liberty Party and stand by those principles for which they have sacrificed and suffered so much, and which, because they believe they are' from Heaven, they believe will prevail.
10. Resolved, That we rejoice in the rapid progress of the Land Reform doctrines, and in the hope, that "the good time" is coming, when the land will be no more bought and sold; and when the right of every human being to land, light, air, and water, will be universally acknowledged to be as perfect and absolute, as his right to his body - his body itself being not less certainly dependent upon these elements of human subsistence, than are its most vital parts upon each other.
11. Resolved, That if it be patriotism to defend the matchlessly infernal war, which this Nation has been waging against Mexico, then are we no patriots : and that if it be treason to sympathise with Mexico, and pray for her success against her destroyers, then are we traitors.
12. WHEREAS, one of the great political parties has nominated for She Presidency a man, whom, but that he is an enslaver of men, and a butcher of men, the most extravagant thinker would never have thought of for the Presidency; and whereas the other of these parties has nominated for this office a demagogue, who is heartless and profligate enough to go for any extension of slavery, for any war, or for any other stupendous wickedness, which may promise to serve his absorbing purpose of self-exaltation : Resolved, therefore, that the American people, in choosing between these candidates, will have but to inquire, by the election of which of them they can most insult Heaven, and afflict earth - can most rapidly fill up the measure of their Nation's iniquity, and most rapidly complete their Nation's destruction.
13. Resolved, That unwillingness to use the products of slave-labor, is a beautiful and effective testimony against slavery.
Of the Liberty Party to the Colored People of the Northern States.
The doctrine of the slaveholders is, that the negro is fit for no other condition than slavery. We need not say, that our doctrine is, that every man is fit for liberty, and no man for slavery. The slaveholders hope for your ill-doing and debasement, that their doctrine may, thereby, be justified. We hope for your well-doing and elevation, that it may, thereby, be refuted. Readily and joyfully, do we admit, that many of you are doing much to refute it. Many of you are Manifesting many qualities of head and heart, which prove the negro to be as much a man as is any other variety of man. A few of you are adorning learned professions. Most of you are industrious; and many of you, combining economy with industry, are enabled to enjoy the comforts, and, in not rare instances, the elegancies and refinements of life. Nevertheless, it remains true, that, as a people, you are doing far less than you should, to shame the slavebolders out of their wicked and absurd doctrine, that the negro is fit for slavery only.
Now, say not, in vindication of yourselves, that you can afford, to be brought into comparison with the whites. You are under the necessity of being better than the whites, because the prejudice of color, which, in this land, is as mighty as it is mad, is far them and against you. They sail with the tide; you against it. They may be idlers, and yet be respected. But, if your industry relax, you are denounced as lazy. They may be spendthrifts, without greatly, or, at all, harming their reputation. But, yours is ruined, unless you are rigid economists. They may indulge in intoxicating drinks, and, yet, be coasted with the sober. You must be tetotallers, or pass for drunkards. Profanity and licentiousness in them may go unrebuked. But you cannot be guilty of these vices, without being disgraced and made vile by them. They can afford to be without knowledge--even, without the knowledge of the alphabet. But, the most ignorant of them will make merry over your ignorance, and despise you for it. They can join secret societies, and yet be respected. But, if you indulge in the puerilities and fooleries of the Regalia and processions of secret
societies, you are laughed at for the nonsense, and are denounced for such wicked waste of your wages.
We said, that you are under the necessity of being better than the whites. We admit that it is unreasonableness and cruelty, which have forced this necessity upon you. But, is it for that reason that a wholesome necessity? Are you, therefore, to be less thankful to God for it? - and less prayerful to Him for that measure of grace, which will enable you to live up to the whole extent of the demands of this necessity? Happy, thrice happy, the people, who are, compelled to have, if they but show themselves worthy to have, a higher standard of circumspection, propriety, and wisdom, than have others! Happy, thrice happy, the people, who are under peculiar, obligations to be in industrious, and frugal, and learned, and virtuous, if, only, a heart he given them to respond to these obligations!
One cause of your inferior condition - that inferior condition which reflects so much in the way of the anti-slavery enterprise, and which reflects so much dishonor upon it - is too prominent and powerful, to be passed over on this occasion. We refer to your clustering in cities and large villages, and resigning yourselves to menial occupations. It is no dishonor to an individual to be a servant. But, for a whole people to become servants, is to sink themselves in disgrace. They will, in some cases be, very naturally, thought fit for nothing higher. And, true it is, that the occupation of a servant, if association with none but servants be obeyed with it, must fit for nothing higher than the occupation of a servant. Now, such are the circumstances of the great body of those of you, who are congregated in populous places; and, hence, the ignorance, groveling spirit, and destitution of manly independence, which characterise them.
We have glanced at the pernicious influence of your inferior condition on the anti-slavery cause. As that condition rises or sinks, so rises or sulks this cause. As that condition rises, so does the slaveholder become weak. As it sinks, so does he become strong. Be what you should, and can be and the enslavement of your race would no longer be possible. In the development of your dignity and capabilities, the slaveholder would, awerstruck, behold what manhood, what dignity, what capabilities, he had been trampling on, is the persons of his slaves. His slaveholding heart would now die with him. The rod of the oppressor would fall from his relaxed and the opprossed would go free.
We will advert to one of the benefits, which would result to yourselves from the great improvement, which should take place in you condition. Your political rights, as well as other rights of your manhood, are, now, withheld from most of you. Our Maker knows, that they will rob, when they can do it, with impunity. He knows, that they will be guilty of the ineffable meanness of robbing those of their rights, who are too weak to protect their rights. Hence, His command: "Rob not the poor because be is poor." It is, because you are so generally poor, being so generally servants, and because you
are, therefore, accounted vile, that you are plundered of your political rights. Had the colored people of this State been scattered over the State on farms and in mechanic shops, and been, every way, as, in that case, they would have been, the equals of the white men among them - strong as is the prejudice against color, their respectability would have extorted from that prejudice the right of suffrage. "Nay, that prejudice, melted away before that respectability, this right would have been yielded up unresistingly, willingly, gladly.
But the way, in which you mostly wrong and degrade yourselves, and retard the progress of the anti-slavery cause, remains to be specified.
It is a sad truth - and as strange as sad-that great numbers of the colored people of the Northern States are bound up with pro-slavery, ecclesiastical, and political parties. We do not complain, that you cherish the Methodist, or Presbyterian, or any other religious creed. But, we insist, that you, who are in fellowship with pro-slavery religionists of whatever denomination, are the deadliest traitors to your brethren in bonds. By means of that fellowship, your religion, such as it is, endorses slavery; and it is the religious endorsement of slavery, which more than anything else, keeps it in countenance. Better, infinitely better, for your poor lashed and bleeding, and chained brothers and sisters - and, may we not add, for yourselves also - that you. should never see the inside of a Church, nor the inside of a Bible, than that you should, by your pro-slavery connections, sanctify their enslavement.
Again, we are not now complaining, that you hold these or those views of political economy. But, most deeply, do we "complain, that you should connect yourselves with, and vote with, political'' parties, which, together with the pro-slavery churches, are the great props of
American slavery. A colored man voting for a slaveholder for a civil office, or for one who thinks a slaveholder fit for it! What a cruel perfection of treachery to the poor Southern slave is this! How it murders him in the house of his friends. Better renounce your right to vote, and your right to personal liberty, and go down and grind in the Southern Prison House, loaded with the ignominious and galling chains of slavery, than make such a heartless and murderous use, as this, of your suffrages and personal liberty.
At the last Presidential Election, there were, probably, five votes cast by colored men for Henry Clay, where one was cast by them for James G. Birney : - and, this, too, nothwithstanding, that the former exceeds any other man in responsibility for the sufferings of the negro race, and that the latter has, for conscience sake, emancipated his twenty-eight slaves, and thereby, both made himself an outcast from the society, which had cherished him, and reduced himself to poverty. What unparalleled infatuation was this preference for Henry Clay!
Impressive scene would be the secession from pro-slavery churches and pro-slavery political parties of every colored person connected with them! Slavery could not long survive a scene so influential and
Heaven-blest. Oh, that such a scene were at hand! Oh, that it were, already, one of the definitions of a negro : "A person, who would sooner, lose his bead than belong to a pro-slavery church!" And, oh, that it were, already, another of these definitions : "A person who would sooner lose his head than belong to, or vote with, a pro-slavery political party!" When these shall be among the definitions of a negro, negro slavery will be ready to vanish.
THE LIBERTY PARTY
OF THE UNITED STATES,
TO THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES.
The present Convention is necessary, that it may undo what the other Convention did : that it may, supplant with a Liberty Party nomination, the anti-Liberty Party nomination made by the other: and that, in opposition to the false and disgusting character, which the other sought to impress upon the Liberty Party, it may hold up the true and beautiful character of that Party.
Whether the Liberty Party was organized to be a temporary, or a permanent party, is a question which it is no longer necessary to discuss. For all its members, excepting those who would have it disbanded, or reduced to a mere Wilmot Proviso party, or some other diluted and sham anti-slavery party, are, now, persuaded, that it is in vain to look for the redemption of the slave, or indeed, for any good whatever, at the hands of the other political parties ; and that they must, therefore, regard the Liberty Party, as a permanent party.
The admission, that it is a permanent party, must, of course, be followed by the admission, that, the Liberty Party, instead of limiting its service to the obtainment of some, particular measure, or present
relief, from Civil Government, is bound to inculcate, and identify itself with, all the duties of Civil government; and to endeavor to have those administer it, who will, at no point, shrink from putting it to its true use.
What is the true use of Civil Government? It is the protection of rights. Civil Government creates no rights. These all come from Him, who is the Author, both of Civil Government and of our being. Nor can it destroy rights. The doctrine, that it may destroy some rights, in consideration of its protecting others, is as false, as the theory of Civil Government, from which it springs. Civil Government is a means for protecting - never for destroying - rights. That, it has, always, failed to afford protection - impartial, full, protection - should be ascribed in no small degree, to the fact, that, in every instance, a large share of its subjects, and very generally, all but a handful of them, have been excluded from any voice or influence in the Government. Civil Government, in almost its whole history, has been the conspiracy of the few against the many. Such, however, it would not have been, had the whole people, as should ever be the case, been allowed to influence, and give character to, it, and to participate in the choice of its administrators. Compared with other countries, the right of suffrage is, indeed, greatly extended in our own. But even here, how far is it from being universally enjoyed! Multitudes, for no better reason, than the color of their skin are excluded from it. And neither here nor in any other part of the world, is the right of suffrage allowed to extend beyond one of the sexes. This universal exclusion of woman, still more than does the withholding of legal protection from her rights of property, and still more, even, than does the withholding of those rights themselves, argues, conclusively, that, not as yet, is there one nation so far emerged from barbarism, and so far practically Christian, as to permit woman to rise up to the one level of the human family. It also argues, conclusively, that Civil Government, notwithstanding its intrinsic character is in the fullest harmony with the most honorable conceptions of female purity and delicacy; is, nevertheless, so unhappily confounded with those flagrant forms of injustice and brutality, to which it is perverted, as to make the thought of woman's participation in it revolting and absurd.
Let us not be understood, as claiming for suffrage, what does not belong to it. It is its (and herein comes to view the preciousness of a broad and genuine democracy-) to select, under the Divine Guidance, the ruler. But it is not its to control the ruler. The ruler, once selected, is to rule in the fear, not of men, but of God - not as the tool of men, but as "the minister of God." Hence, the absurdity and atheism of the popular doctrine, that the ruler is bound by the will of his constituents.He is to do right, whether they consent, or no; and he is never to take it for granted, that the voice of the people is the voice of God.
What is the protection due from Civil Government to its subjects? It is, that it maintain their equal rights; and extend, impartially, over
their sacred persons, their innocent pursuits, and lawful professions, its protective shield. It is, in the words of inspiration, that it thoroughly execute judgement between a man and his neighbor.
Government most protect religious freedom. Hence it must impose no penalties for the neglect or rejection of religious observances. Again, Government must protect the freedom of speech and of the press: - and we add, that there had better be no "law of libel," thus such a law of libel, or, to speak more safely, than such interpretations of it as, oftentimes, restrain, and, oftentimes, punish, the honest and wholesome utterances of the press.
The most glaring instance, in which, in our own country, Government fails to afford protection to its subjects, is slavery. It, not only, suffers one person to enslave another with impunity, but, in all its departments - legislative, executive, judicial, actually encourages, helps, and defends, the outrage. One of its excuses for arraying itself on the side of the slaveholder, is, that they intended it should, who framed the Federal Constitution. No such intentions, however, are expressed in that anti-slavery instrument : and it is the expressions of an instrument - not the intentions of its framers which should govern the interpretation of it. The intentions of the framers of the Constitution are entitled to no more weight in the ascertainment of its meaning, than are the intentions of the scrivener in determining the sense of the Deed, or Contract, which he had been employed to write. We do not deny, that a few - it was only a very few - of the framers of the Constitution undertook to get slavery into it. But the understanding, unanimous from the first, that if slavery were brought into it, it must be so brought in, as neither to be seen to be brought in, nor, ever afterwards to be seen to be in, had laid an insurmountable obstacle upon the very threshhold of their undertaking. Slavery cannot be an invisible monarch. It can exist nowhere, without being seen, as well as felt. To suppose that the monster could, unseen, enter the Constitution, and unseen, lie coiled up in it, is as absurd, as the supposition, that Satan could, also, come among the sons of God, without being detected by the All-seeing eye. To speak less figurative the instrument, which is drawn up with the intelligent and steadfast purpose of having it serve, and, be, forever, fully and gloriously identified with, the cause of liberty, republicanism, and equal rights, must, of necessity, be shot against the claims and pretensions of slavery.
The Federal Government has power, under its Constitution, to abolish every part of American slavery; and is supremely guilty for refusing to exercise it. But, why speak of the Constitution, or of any other paper, when the question raised is, whether the Government shall protect, or suppress, slaveholding I suppose, that the two hundred and fifty thousand pirates, whom this corrupt and bloody nation cherishes in her bosom, were to substitute for their claim to the black skins an equal claim to the blue eyes; or for their claim to enslave men, the more moderate one to kill them; would Government design so much, as a single glance, at the laws, statutory, organic, or what not,
which these pirates might hunt up, in support of their new claims? Certainly not. It would, in that case, feel, as it, always, should feel, that the sole end of Civil Government is to protect rights; and that it might, as well, be openly repudiating its functions, and destroying its very existence, as to be giving countenance to searches after authorities for destroying rights. Laws, which interpret, define, secure, rights, Government is to respect: and laws, which, mistakingly, yet honestly, aim at this end, it is not to despise. But laws, which are enacted to destroy rights, it should trample under foot, - for, to say nothing worse of them, they are a gross insult upon it, inasmuch as they are a shameless attempt to turn it from good to evil, and from its just and Heaven-intended uses to uses of a diametrically opposite character. Moreover, Civil Government is to regard such laws, as utterly void, for the reason that, they are an outrage, and an open war, upon the inflexible and eternal justice, which underlies all obligatory laws. Such laws, in a word, it is to regard, as no laws. Should it follow them, it would cease to be Civil Government; - no less so than the physician would cease to be a physician, and would become a murderer, who should substitute, for the purpose and effort to save life, the purpose, and effort to destroy it. Whatever, then, may be said of the lawfulness of slavery, Government, instead, of strengthening the hand of the slaveholder, must punish him; and, because murder itself does not surpass his crime, it is grossly inconsistent and partial, if it do not punish him with the severest punishment, which it inflicts - be that punishment confinement in the State Prison, or suspension from the gallows. Again, whatever may be said of the lawfulness of slavery, Government must abolish it. If it have a Constitution, under which it cannot abolish slavery, then it must override its Constitution, and abolish slavery. But, whether under, or over, the Constitution, it must abolish slavery.
We are not unaware, that there may be persons, who will admit, that, whether with or against, the Constitution, the Federal Government is bound to abolish slavery within the limits of its exclusive jurisdiction, as, for instance, in the District of Columbia, or a Territory; but who, at the same time, will deny, that, beyond these limits, as, for instance, in Virginia, it has power over slavery. A few words will suffice to show their error.
The powers of the Federal Government, as specified in the Constitution, are, confessedly, paramount to State authority; and the exercise of them is, confessedly, to be left unobstructed by State authority. But, several of these powers may be made either partially nugatory, or entirely incapable of being carried out, if the States may set up, or maintain slavery. The Federal Government has power to "guaranty to every State in this Union a republican form of government" - also to "protect each of them against invasion" - also "against domestic violence." It has, impliedly, if not, indeed, expressly, power to" provide for the common defence, and general welfare of the United States." But, to how very limited an extent can these powers be
exercised, amidst the influences and obstacles of slavery ! Now, if the States may thus counteract these powers, it is absurd to say, that the Federal Government possesses them: as absurd, as to say, that certain laws give a man power to drive his carriage through the streets, if, at the same time, other laws may be effectually pleaded for blocking its wheels. The Federal Government is reduced to no Government at all, beyond the sphere of its exclusive jurisdiction, if the State Governments are permitted to sink themselves into more piracies, and to create, within their respective limits, an atmosphere, in which the Federal Government cannot "live and move and have its being."
That the Federal Government has power to abolish the whole of American slavery is not anew doctrine. At the time our Government came into being, slavery was regarded on all hands, as an expiring institution: and, hence, this doctrine, then, met with very little of that ferocious resistance, which it encounters, now that slavery has become the rampant and supreme power of the land. Very distinguished opponents of the abolition of slavery, then, admitted this doctrine. Said the celebrated Patrick Henry, when opposing, in the Virginia Convention, the adoption of the Federal Constitution : "Have they (Congress) not power to provide for the general defence and welfare ? May they not think, that this calls for the abolition of slavery? May they pronounce all slaves free, and will they not be warranted by that power I ere is no ambiguous implication, or logical deduction. The paper (the Constitution) speaks to the point. They have the power in clear, unequivocal terms ; and will clearly and certainly exercise it."
We need add nothing to make it plain, that the State Governments cannot interfere with, or deny the power of the Federal Government to abolish every part and parcel of American slavery. But, it is claimed, that there are outside of the State Governments, two things, which deny this power. One of these is in the Constitution, and the other is out of it. That, which is in it, is the clause respecting fugitives from service. It is enough to say of this clause, that, whilst it can not, by a proper use of language, be made to apply to slaves, it does, by such use, apply to others - such as apprentices and minor children. The other of the two things we have already disposed of. It is the intentions of the framers of the Constitution. Being but that, it is, not only, out of the Constitution, but has nothing to do with it.
Whatever may be said of that part of the Constitution, which respects representation in Congress, no one pretends that it forbids the abolition of slavery by either the Federal or State Governments. And whatever may be said of that part of it, which respects the importation of persons, all admit, that its force expired, forty years ago.
The admission is, often, made by those, ho claim, that the Federal Government can abolish the whole system of American slavery, that it can do so, only through the Judiciary. But, should even this much be admitted? If the Constitution says, that Congress "shall have
power to make all laws, which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution its powers vested by the Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any department or offices thereof;" and if slavery, as we have seen, that it does, stand in the way of any of these powers, then have we not both the clearest and the fullest Constitutional authority, for taking the ground, that Congress may make laws to remove slavery, or any other obstacle, which is in the way of "carrying into execution its powers?"
Again, it is claimed by many, that slavery had a legal existence in the States, ere the Constitution came into being. But, what if it had? We have seen that Congress may enact laws for its abolition throughout the nation: - and does not the Constitution itself declare, that such laws would be part of the supreme law of the land, anything, in the Constitution or laws of any State, to the contrary notwithstanding?
How pernicious, how mortifying, that there are persons, who still claim to belong to the Liberty Party, and who, nevertheless, deny, that the Federal Government has power to abolish every part of American slavery! What is far worse, some of these persons hold, that the Constitution actually creates slavery - actually creates it - wherever in New England, or New York, or New Jersey, or Pennsylvania, the hounds upon his track may overtake the panting fugitive from the horrors of the Southern Prison House. What wonder that, Whilst the National Era, which even presumes to make half-way and indirect pretensions to being a Liberty Party paper, and which, thence, and from its location also, obtains a wide circulation among the Liberty Party men - what wonder, we say, that, whilst, it advocates this abominable doctrine, and nine-tenths of the so-called Liberty Party papers, not only, leave this paper unrebuked, but cover it with praises - what wonder, we say, that the nominal Liberty. Party should, this day, be a heap, and a disgusting heap, of ruins? The wonder is, that the National Era and these other papers should affect indignation toward the scheme for dissolving the Uunion. Go on, Garrison - go on, Phillips - go on, Quincy - with your denunciations of the Constitution as a "covenant with death and an agreement with hell," so long, as you believe that these self-styled Liberty Party men are right, in claiming for that instrument power to create slavery.
We said, a little way back, that there are, in the Constitution, specific denials of the deprivation and violation of rights, which forbid slavery. But, it is argued, that these denials are limitations upon the power of the Federal Government only. It is so argued, on the ground that, when the Constitution does not point out, whether the limitations are on Federal or State power, it is to be inferred, that they are on Federal power, and on that only.
Whence, however, the justification of such inference? From the fact, it is answered, that the Federal power is the subject matter of the Constitution - is that of which it treats - is that which it constitutes. But, this is not a just view of the case. The paper, called the Federal Constitution, is as distinctly a paper for fixing limits, within
which the States shall keep themselves, as it is for constitutitig the Federal Government; - and the one purpose is no less important; or necessary, than the other. What, however, if the inference referred to were warrantable ? So far, certainly, as the original Constitution is concerned, it matters not - for nothing of the uncertainty in questions to be found in it. The original Constitution shows too plainly to make a more frequent recurrence of the word "Congress" necessary, that the 8th and 9th sections of its 1st article were devoted, to the enumeration of the powers and disabilities of Congress. It also shows plainly that the 10th section of the same article was devoted to the enumeration of the disabilities of the States. All this is too plain ever to have been doubted. We have lying before us an old copy of the Constitution, printed in Virginia, in which "Powers of Congress" is at the head of the 8th section, and "Restrictions upon Congress" is the head of the 9th section, and "Restrictions upon Respective States" is at the head of the 10th section.
Why, however, it is asked, was it necessary to have a repetition of the word "State" in the 10th section, any more than a repetition of the word "Congress" in the 9th section ? The ready answer is, that it would not have been necessary, had the negation of State powers been preceded by the enumeration of State powers, as is the negation of Federal powers by the enumeration of Federal powers.
So far as respects the sections we have referred to, the Constitution is, direly, not to be charged with making, room for the looseness of inference. It had just devoted a section to limitations on the Federal power. It proceeds to devote the next section to limitations, and some of them identical with limitations in the other section. What, but upon State powers, could those limitations be upon? And yet, to avoid the necessity of inference, the word "State" is repeated several times, in connection with these limitations. We add, where, ill the original Constitution, either before or after, the three sections spoken of is it left to inference, whether the powers granted, or denied be Federal or State powers? No where.
The prohibition in the, 9th section. No ex post facto law, or bill of attainder shall be passed," is that, which is relied on to prove, that any prohibition in the Constitution, which like this, does not, in terms, apply to any Government, is to be construed as applying to the Federal Government, and that only. But we have shown, that the place and connection in the Constitution of this recited prohibition superseded the necessity of applying it, in, terms, to the Federal Government, Were there a reasonable doubt, (which there is not,) that the place and connection of this prohibition determine the application, we, should be at liberty to look away from the Constitution to collateral testimonies. And how quick would the doubt he dispelled ! For, not only did the draft of the Constitution, which was under discussion, when, near the close of the Convention, this prohibition was inserted - not only, we say, did this draft include in one chapter, both the powers and disabilities of Congress and not only did the chapter, by
beginning with the words: "The Legislature of the United States," determine, that every part of it is applicable to that Legislature, and that only - but the prohibition was moved and inserted in the following words: "The Legislature (Congress) shall pass no bill of attainder, nor any ex post facto law." "The Committee of style and arrangement" made their Report a few days afterwards, in which they slightly varied the phraseology of this and other parts of the Constitution.
We now pass on to the amendments of the Constitution : for it is in them that we find those specific denials of the deprivation and violation of rights, which, as we have said, forbid slavery.
Twelve articles of amendment were proposed by, the first Congress. The first three, and the last two, do, in terms, refer to the Federal Government, and that only. To what Government, or Governments the other seven refer, is a matter of inference. Whilst, however, it would be a total violation of the laws of inference to say, that the refer to the Federal Government only, it would be in full accordance with these laws to say, that, because the other five expressly refer to the Federal Governments, these seven refer to the State Governments, or to both the Federal and State Governments.
Many, there doubtless are, who, because the first one of the adopted amendments expresses its reference to the Federal Government, infer, that there is the like reference, in the case of all the other amendments. But it must be borne in mind, that the first two of the proposed amendments were rejected - that for this reason, the third came to be numbered the first - and that all three of them refer expressly to the Federal Government. To say that the 11th and 12th of the adopted amendments were proposed by Congress after the other ten were adopted, maybe to some persons, a necessary explanation.
We have given one reason, why a Part of the amendments of the Constitution refer to the State Governments exclusively, or to both the Federal and State Governments. Another reason is, that they are, in their nature and meaning, as applicable to a State Government, as to the Federal Government. And another is, that, if there, be, only a reasonable doubt, whether they refer to the Federal Government exclusively, they should be construed as referring to the State Governments also for human liberty is entitled to the benefit of every reasonable doubt; and this is a case, in which human liberty is most vitally and extensively concerned.
We are not at liberty to go back, nor aside of the Constitution to inquire, whether the amendments in question, are, or are not, limitations on State power: There they are, as suitably, in their terms, nature, and meaning, limitations on State, as on Federal power. This being the fact, we are to believe that the people, when adopting them by their Legislatures, interpreted them as having the two-fold application, which we claim for them. This being the fact, the people now, whether their fathers did, or did not, may insist, and must insist, on this two-fold- application. In the name, then, of reason. and religion,
of humanity and God, we protest against the supplanting of our just interpretation with one, which shall minister to the diabolical purpose of holding millions of our countrymen and their posterity, in the cruellest and foulest bondage.
Were, however, the Constitution obscure on the point under consideration, we should, nevertheless, not be without collateral testimony, in behalf of our interpretation. It is, an interesting and apposite historical fact, that almost all the amendments of the Constitution, and all of them, on which, on the present occasion, we are concerned, were taken from the Bill of Rights, which the Virginia Convention proposed to have incorporated with the Federal Constitution. But this Bill of Rights speaks neither of Congress nor of the Federal Government : and it, evidently, contemplates absolute security: - security, as well from the invasion of State, as of Federal power.
Are we asked, whether we believe, that the Virginia Convention intended, that this Bill of Rights should, if adopted, work the abolition of slavery ? We answer, that the proceedings of the Convention do, indeed, abound in radical and glorious anti-slavery sentiments: but, that its use of the word "freeman," where (see 4th and 5th, articles) the more anti-slavery Congress struck it out and substituted therefor "people" and " person," argues somewhat against the supposition, that the Convention relied on the Bill of Rights to effectuate the overthrow of slavery.
And were we, in quest of further collateral testimony, to go to the proceedings of the Congress, which submitted the amendments, we should find, that Mr. Madison was the first person to, move in the matter; that he proposed two series of amendments, one of them affecting Federal, and the other State powers; and that it was a part of his proposition to have them interwoven in the, original Constitution - for instance, the negations of Federal power to be included is the 9th section of the 1st article, and the negations of State power to be included in the 10th section of that article. We should also find, that several of the amendments, which he proposed to have included in the 10th section are, in substance, and well nigh to the very letter, identical with amendments, which are now a part of the Constitution. We should also find Mr. Madison justifying himself, in the following words for his proposition to impose limitations on State power think there is more danger of these powers being abused by the State Governments, than by the Government of the United States" - "It must be admitted, on all hands, that the State Governments are as liable to attack these invaluable privileges, as the General Government is, and therefore ought to be as cautiously guarded against" - "I should, therefore, wish to extend this interdiction, and add, that no State stall violate, &c." - " If there was any reason to restrain the Government of the United States from infringing upon these essential rights, it was equally necessary that they should be secured against the State Governments. He thought, that if they provided
against the one, it was as necessary to provide against the other, and was satisfied, that it would be equally grateful to the people."
By looking into the Congressional proceedings referred to, we should also find, that the House of Representatives, instead of following Mr. Madison's plan of distributing the amendments through the original Constitution, and so applying one to the Federal and another to the State Governments, made them a supplement to the original Constitution, and left a part of them, couched in such terms, as render them equally applicable to the Federal and State Governments. It should, also, be borne in mind, that this plan of Mr. Madison, which was embodied in the Report of a Committee, was kept, a long time, before the attention of the House. We should, moreover, find, that whatever may have been said by this or that speaker, respecting the application of this or that amendment, no vote was taken, declaring that all, or any, of the amendments apply to the Federal Government. And whilst, on the other band, there was no vote taken, declaring the application of any of the amendments to the State Governments, there was a vote taken, which serves to show, that the House did not mean to have all the amendments apply to the Federal Government exclusively. The vote was on the following proposed amendment: "No person shall be subject, in case of impeachment, to more than one trial, or one punishment for the same offence, nor shall be compelled to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, &c." Mr. Partridge, of Massachusetts, moved to insert after "same offence" the words: "by any law of the United States." His motion was lost. The House would restrain a State, as well as the Nation, from enacting such an unrighteous and oppressive law.
What, if any, were the proceedings of the Senate, respecting the amendments of the Constitution, except to concur with the House in recommending them, we do not know - for its first five sessions were with closed doors.
We cannot leave this topic of Governmental action with respect to slavery, without adding, that all States, or Nations, are entitled to a just civil government, and are bound to provide themselves with it; and that all States, or Nations, are entitled to have civil rulers, who, conscious, that they are unfettered by anything in the past, present, or future, will carry out the whole intent of Civil Government. When God commanded the Israelites to choose their civil rulers, it would not have been competent for them to excuse themselves from the commanded duty by saying, that they, or their ancestors, had enacted certain unrighteous laws, the effect of which was to tie up the hands of civil rulers - to render the choosing of them needless, and not only needless, but, in the case of those of the rulers, who should disregard these unrighteous laws, a temptation to commit perjury. It would not have been competent for them to say, that a Constitution, defeating the ends of civil government, had been laid in their way, and that, therefore, they were compelled to be non-voters, Garrisonians, Disun-
ionists. or if such a Constitution were laid in their way, whether by themselves, or others, what had they to do, but to kick it out of the way I just civil government they must have. Rulers who would faithfully administer it, they must choose. he right was unconditional. The duty was unavoidable.
We cannot bind our successors to do wrong. We cannot bind our selves to do wrong. Our successors, in spite of what we have done, and ourselves also, in spite of what we have done, be it in the way of organic, or statutory, or judicial, or any other, laws, are to maintain, unabridged, all the powers of civil government and all the functions of the civil ruler. As well may it be claimed, in respect to any other of our rights, as in respect to the rights of Civil Government, that we must continue to suffer them to be cramped and distorted in the mould, which ignorance, or wickedness, has constructed for them. As well may it be claimed, in respect to any other gift of Heaven, as in respect to civil government, that we are obliged to yield it up on human authority. And surely, no reasonable person will deny, that we yield up, and abandon, civil government, when we admit, that it may forego the duty of securing personal liberty to its innocent subjects : - for, when it foregoes this duty, it ceases to be civil government, as entirely, as a man ceases to be a man, after the vital spark within him is extinguished.
When, then, the American people - (and their admissions, that they are one people and are, therefore, bound to be under a common civil government, as well as under various local civil governments, are abundant) - when, then, we say, the American people are told, that they are bound to accept the civil government, however unjust it may be, which has come down to them from a former age; they are to reply, that every age has the right to choose, and is bound to choose, a civil government for itself. And when they are told that filial respect requires them to cherish and cling to whatever of good, or of evil has been bequeathed to them; they are to reply, that no duties which they owe to their dead fathers Pan stand in the way of the infinitely more important duties, which they owe to their living selves, their living fellow men, and their living God.
We spoke of perjury. Far are we from saying, that a person is at liberty to take an oath of office, which, in his esteem, involves perjury. Most certainly, be is not. ut he is not, therefore, to give up his office. e is to hold it, and insist on discharging its duties. If resisted, let him make his appeal to the people who gave him his office. A few such appeals would result in the determination of the people not to be deprived of the civil ruler of their choice, because he is too conscientious to swear to do wickedly. A few such appeals would result in the determination of the people to abolish an oath, which exacts unrighteousness, and to substitute for it an obligation to uphold and honor an impartial and just civil government.
There are, here and there, persons, who, because of the oath of office agreed on by our fathers, refuse to vote for civil rulers. What
less, is this, however, than to make it depend on a former age, whether we shall, in this age, have a civil government of our own choice, or, indeed, any civil government at all? Let such persons join with us in choosing rulers; and let them insist with us, that if these rulers cannot consent to take the oath referred to, they shall, nevertheless, be rulers; and let them further insist with us, that, our fathers to the contrary notwithstanding, (if, indeed, they be to the contrary,) we will take the matter of civil government into our own hands, as boldly and fully, as they took it into theirs - deciding for ourselves, as they did for themselves, both what shall be its form and character, and, under what tests, persons shall be inducted into its offices.
The common impression, that American slavery must continue to be endured, because of the alleged guaranties of it in the Constitution, argues the no less common impression, that one age can prescribe the civil government for another. But such guaranties, even if the Constitution were crowded with them, instead of being, as it is, utterly destitute of them, would, inasmuch as every generation has the perfect and absolute right to choose a civil government for itself, weigh nothing against our right to abolish slavery - nothing against our right to have a civil government, which would be fraught with instant and utter death to slavery.
Another instance, in which civil government, in this country, violates, instead of protecting and maintaining the equal rights of its subjects, is the sustaining of itself by taxes on consumption. These are taxes on poverty, more than on property. Under this inequitable system, it often happens, that the poorest family pays a greater tax than the richest family: and it is undoubtedly true, that under it, the owners of one-fifth of the wealth of the country pay more of the National taxes than do the owners of the other four-fifths.
That the taxation, under this system, is indirect, is, instead of a plea for the system, the weightiest objection against it. It is such, because, owing to its indirectness, it is the more readily acquiesced in, and can be carried to so much greater extent, than if it were direct. So long as the expenditures of government are defrayed by indirect taxes, the people, failing, for that reason, to hold it to a strict accountability, will leave it to plunge into boundless extravagance and corruption. Neither economy, nor honesty, is to be looked for in the government, which provides for its expenditures by indirect taxes; or which, to obviate the necessity of a present pressure on the people, incurs debts. Such debts, however, could rarely be incurred to any great extent, were it not, that the expectation of their being paid by indirect taxation, reconciles the people to them.
But, it is not enough to say, that Government should be sustained by direct taxes. We utter the novel and startling doctrine, that these taxes should be imposed upon its subjects, in proportion to their ability to pay them, instead of in proportion to their property, or income. To illustrate the man, whose property, or whose income from his toil, or from whatever sources, is barely enough for his subsistence,
should not pay, as it is universally thought that he should, just one-half the amount of taxes, which, he should pay, whose property, or whose income, is just twice as great. The taxes, which the former pays, he pays from the little stock, all of which he needs for his living. But, the taxes, which the latter pays, are taken from the surplus, which he has, after the supply of his needs; and are, therefore, an inconceivably less burden than are the taxes paid by the former. One of two courses should be adopted. Either they, who have barely the means of subsistence, should be exempted from taxation, or they, who have more, should be assessed with a higher rate of taxation.
Another instance, in which Civil Government not only suffers, but sanctions, and even perpetrates, the invasion of the equal rights of its subjects, is land-monopoly. Our Government encourages and protects its subjects in their land-monopoly, not only by its laws, but by its, example - for it is itself the great land-monopolist. How plain is it to such, as class the soil with those other elements of human subsistence - light, air, water - and look upon man's relation to the soil to be as natural and indissoluble, as the relation of his limbs to his body: - how plain, we say, to such, that Government should cease from buying and selling land, and should, also, restrain its subjects from such traffic! Its laws to restrain them should be as effectual, as should be the laws of every Government to restrain its subjects from the guiltier, but far less widely pernicious, traffic in the bodies and souls of men. Because, however, of the essential relation of men to the soil, and their identification with it, the traffic in it is, itself, a traffic in their bodies and souls. here is, moreover, a painful feature in this virtual traffic in man, which is not to be found, every where, in the literal traffic in him. The serf is literally sold. Nevertheless, there is a mercy, in selling him along with the soil, that feeds him, which there is not in selling the soil away from the poor. There is a mercy in selling the babe along with its mother, which there is not, in leaving it unsold, if leaving it unsold, it be torn from the breast, that nourished it.
We have spoken of the duty of Government to restrain others, and to cease itself, from land-monopoly. We would add as much in relation to the Post Office monopoly, and all monopolies. What a hinderance to the enlightenment and happiness - to the more friendly and the closer connection with each other - of the different portions of the human family, and to the preservation of a world-wide peace, is high postage! But, so far as our own country is concerned, this hinderance would quickly disappear, were our Government to concede to the people as perfect a right to transport letters and papers, as anything else. n that event, the charge for carrying a half-ounce letter from one end of our land to the other would not exceed two cents. Let us not be understood, assaying that Government should relinquish all concern in the Post Office. It is, perhaps, true, that Government alone is competent to make the Post Office the great convenience and the great blessing which it should be. We have referred to the Post Office, but for the purpose of giving emphasis to our condemnation of all monopoly.
This reference to the Post Office monopoly gives us occasion for saying, that our Government will never be the emphatically republican and people's Government, which it should be, until the people elect their postmasters, and strip the Executive of a large share of the remainder of its appointing power.
In suffering conspiracies, Civil Government suffers an invasion of the equal rights of its subjects. Secret Societies, however laudable the spirit, in which they may originate, or the motives by which the mass of their members may be actuated, have, nevertheless, too many of the features, and are liable to produce too many of the effects, of conspiracies, not to be classed with them. These, however it maybe with other and technical conspiracies, would, doubtless, readily yield to indirect means for their overthrow. All the action of Government, necessary to this result, would be the prohibition to administer extra judicial oaths, and the permission to every person to refuse to be tried, or have his cause tried, by a Secret Society Judge o f Juror.
Civil Government is unfaithful to itself and the rights of its subjects, when it forbears to suppress those overt and mighty temptations to vice, which, if long unsuppressed, involve, in a common ruin, the social and political organizations. Among the temptations referred to are drinking-houses, as well as gambling-houses and brothels.
We do not forget, that there are persons, who contend, that the suppression of the sale of intoxicating drinks by Government is an illegitimate use of its power. But such sale is not only the most prolific source of crime and wretchedness. It is also the most prolific source of peril to the Government, where the Government is of the republican form, and, therefore, dependent, for its continued existence, on the sobriety and virtue of its subjects. To say, then, that Government may not exert its controlling power over this evil, is to say, that it may not protect either its subjects, or itself.
We have, now, adverted to several illustrations of Governmental protection. But, however important it maybe to say what such protection is, it is, scarcely, as important, as to say, what it is not: - scarcely as important to say what Government should do, as what it should not do.
Civil Government is relied on to protect its subjects from foreign aggressions. Hence, their submission to those cruel and exhausting drains for means to build fortifications, and maintain standing armies and navies; - a submission to be certainly calculated on, when the drains are in the form of indirect taxes. But such expenditures, instead of preventing war, serve only to provoke it. They invite assaults, instead of protecting from there.
There is no need of providing for war. The probability, or even the possibility of war is not to be calculated on. Government has but to restrain its subjects from aggressions, and in all its administration, to honor and beautify justice; and it may then feel perfectly sure of the friendship of every other nation, as well as the confidence of its own. We are not, because the experiment has never been made, to
doubt the power of a just nation to command and enjoy the friendship of every other nation. But it is said, that an individual, however just, is exposed to the invasion of his rights. This is true. It, nevertheless, does not follow, that a nation will invade the rights of a just nation. The false reasoning - the unwarrantable inference - at this paint, is deeply to be lamented, because it furnishes the advocates of war with their most plausible justification.
How is it, that a man can walk abroad, feeling that his person and purse are secure, and yet knowing, that there are individuals, who respect his right to neither. It is, because he also knows, that such individuals are not one in a hundred of the community; and that the mass, of his fellow citizens are his protectors. Now, to argue, that, because there is, here and there, a reckless individual, a nation will make tear upon a just nation, is to be guilty of the folly of making the exception to the rule, instead of the rule itself, the basis of an argument. Were the fact the reverse of what it is, and the masses, instead of the individual, reckless; then it would be reasonable for even the justest nation to apprehend assaults from foreign nations. he advocates of the necessity of war are compelled, in order to make out heir argument, to libel mankind most grossly. They are compelled to stamp the people, at large, with the desperate character of rare individuals. They tell us, that, should a nation disarm herself, other nations would take the advantage of her exposed condition. No doubt, they would do so. But, it would be such advantage, as the Indians took of the unarmed Pennsylvania Colonists - advantage to disarm themselves, and to reciprocate that love and confidence, by which the Colonists had subdued them.
We, scarcely, need add, that our argument against the necessity of preparing for war, is made all the stronger, by the cheering prospect, that the governments of Europe will, in quick succession, become republican. A nation will be unspeakably slower to wage a war upon a just nation, when the consent of its people, instead of its despot, is necessary.
In some countries, Civil Government helps furnish the instructions both of the pulpit and the school. But, however protective, indispensably protective, are the pulpit and the school, that people is wise, which does, itself, furnish all the instructions of them; and which believes that what the people can do, it, and, in no instance, the Government, should do. The universal education of the youth of Prussia is often cited to reconcile us to the interference of Government with schools. But, the fact, that the Prussian education is not only such, as the Government would have it, but that it is, or, at least, has been, until this year of revolutions, forbidden to be exercised upon political subjects, should serve to warn us against, rather than reconcile us to, such interference. Let our jealousy of such interference be great and ceaseless: and let it never be allayed by the plea, that, but for such interference, the poor would go uneducated. For, in addition to the fact, that the people, in their subdivisions and neighborhoods, will
see to the poor quite as effectually, as will the Government; there would, were it not for the abuses and oppressions of Government, lie comparatively few poor.
The protection of manufacturing, or other labor against foreign competition, is another instance of the illegitimate exercise of Governmental power. Such protection is unrighteous, because it invades the absolute right, which every person has to buy and sell freely in whatever market he may choose. It is unrighteous, because it builds up barriers across the family of man ; has the effect to foster a spirit of exclusiveness and selfishness; to alienate one people from another; and to postpone the happy day, when the sense of the brotherhood and unity of the human race shall be universal, and the nations of the earth shall flow together upon the tides of mutual love and mutual beneficence. It is unrighteous, too, because the protection, such as it is, is afforded at the expense of the poor, rather than the rich. If wisdom and justice (which they never can,) should ever demand this protection, then it should be afforded by an impartial assessment upon property; or, according to the better rule of taxation already suggested by us, upon ability.
To construct roads and canals for the people is another thing, which Government. should not be permitted to do, - for the people can themselves do it : - and, as we have already said, what the people can themselves do; and should themselves do; and should, in no instance permit Government to do. Whilst they should never contract the proper limits of Government, they should, nevertheless, be always vigilant to keep it within such limits. Whilst they should do nothing to weaken its strong arm, they should, nevertheless, see to it, that this strong arm is never wielded, but for legitimate purposes. The Government, which is suffered to build roads and canals for the people, obtains, thereby, an undue power, the strong tendency of which is to work the corruption both of the Government and the people. There are commercial facilities, which, we admit, it is the duty of Government to provide - facilities, the providing of which should be an equal burden on the whole people - such, as the erection of light-houses, the improvement of harbors, and the removal of obstructions from streams, in the navigation of which the country at large is interested. We admit, too, that, if, in any case of such obstructions, their removal would be less expedient than a canal or road around them, Government should feel at liberty to depart from the general rule against its building canals and roads.
Our closing remark under this head is, that, the roads and canals, built by Government, are, no small share of them, uncalled for by the interests of the country; and that all of them cost much more, both in the building and maintaining of them, than they would do, if built and maintained, under the vigilant eye of self interest.
The doctrine, that Government should organize labor, is not without advocates. But, after what we have said, it is superfluous-to add, that we could look with no favor on any attempt of Government to regu-
late the industry, or direct the pursuits, of its subjects. Would the British Government relieve the laboring classes in its dominions? It has but to desist from oppressing, and crushing, them, with wars and tariffs, and to spare them from those abuses of Government power, by which they are harrassed and "killed, all the day long." It has, in a word, but to leave them ( - though under its ever-afforded protection - ) to promote their own fortunes. The Government-chased and Government-worried masses of Great Britain no more need the help of Government, than does the poor, bleeding, panting deer need the help of the dogs, which hunt its life.
Let the people organize labor, if they please: and in such attempt to promote the equality and the comfort of their condition, let them lack no facility and no security, which Government can legitimately afford them. Let them, if they please, gather themselves into communities, or, if they prefer, into associations or partnerships. But, in all this, let them neither ask, nor suffer, the interference of Government. Let them ever look to it as their protector : but let them never allow it to be anything else. Its interference with their pursuits and enjoyments, once permitted, may, in the end, acknowledge no bounds. The most sacred enclosures of private interest may not be exempt from it; and, ultimately, the presence of Government may, both in ubiquity and annoyance, rival the frogs, which came into "the house, and bed chamber, and bed, and oven, and kneeding troughs," of the Egyptians.
Were the British Government but so far faithful to the duty of protection, as practically to recognise the God-given right of every human being to the soil, other measures of Governmental protection would quickly follow; and the British people would quickly see, that protection is all, which they need, at the hands of Government.
Let it not be thought, that, in what we have been saying, we mean a condemnation of the present measures of the French Government for the relief of the laboring classes. As temporary measures, and for present relief, they are, perhaps, entirely justifiable. The sympathising and fraternal spirit, in which they originate, is, certainly, most praiseworthy. The new Government finds the laboring classes prostrated by the abuses and oppressions of the old. In these circumstances, its interposition in their behalf, and the putting forth of its hand to lift them up, may be highly proper. And we go farther in our admissions, and say, that, if Governments will persevere in wrong-in and oppressing their subjects, they can do no less than seek to minister alleviations to the distresses, which they produce. If, with one hand, they will cast them down, they can do no less than seek to lift them up with the other. What we mean is, that "a more excellent way" is for Government to deal so justly and impartially with its subjects, as never to afford an occasion, real or imagined, for calling on it to step beyond its province of simple protection.
Before leaving the subject of labor; we would mention two of the protective measures, which are due from Government to the laboring
classes - first saying, that the exemption of the homestead from the grasp of the creditor, and the exemption also of a small and necessary amount of personal property, (including, in the case of the laborer, his tools,) is due from Government to all its subjects. The two protective measures to be mentioned are "a lien-law," so framed, as to afford security to the rights of the builder, without invading the rights of others; and a law, limiting, to ten hours a day, the labor performed for Government and Corporations. The example of the limitation in these cases, and the moral influence growing out of the example, would, soon, have the effect to make the limitation popular and common. And when we reflect, that were all to labor with their hands, as all should do, three or four hour's a day, the reasonable wants of the world would be amply supplied: and, when, we also reflect, that a much more protracted labor than this encroaches on time, for which our immortal nature has - not, indeed, higher, for there are no higher - but other uses; we, surely, are ready to admit, that quite enough injustice is done our poor brother and sister, from whom ten hours a day of labor are exacted.
We need say no more to indicate our views of the nature and duties of Civil Government. These views the Liberty Party, this day, solemnly promises shall be realized, and be converted from theoretical into actual and enjoyed blessings, whenever the Nation shall Ball it into power. We deeply regret, that its past course affords no better earnest of the fulfilment of its present promise. We confess, with shame, its unfaithfulness to that principle, which, from the first, has been its professed principle of action - "the equal rights of all men." The desire to operate more effectively against slavery, having called the Liberty Party into existence, not a small share of its members slid into the error, that its principle of the "equal rights of all men" should be applied in the direction of slavery only; and that the Party itself should cease, when slavery had ceased. Scarcely less pernicious was the error of another and greater share of its members: - for, notwithstanding that they had, always, regarded the Liberty Patty as a permanent party, they, nevertheless, thought it right and politic to spare every other political wrong, until slavery was conquered. ICU only within the last two or three years, that many of them have begun to awake to the injustice and the criminal partiality of continuing to turn a deaf ear to the victims of one wrong, until the victims of another are delivered. Another, and no less important lesson, which they have, within that time, begun to learn, is, that wrongs are so mutually sustaining, and so much parts of one whole, as to require the war to be against all of them, in order to be successful against any of them. It is not denied, that victory may be achieved over a wrong, when destruction is aimed at it, singly. But the victory will be only partial and temporary. The life of the conquered wrong' is not yet extinct. It still lives in its associated wrongs. It has a life in their life, and in the root, which is common to them all: - and whenever the Spirit of Evil shall, again, have need of its service, it will riot invoke its reproduction, in vain.
But whatever the mistakes of the Liberty Party, in its contest for the slaves, the earnestness and steadiness of its purpose, in that contest, cannot be impeached. For its crime against all other classes of politically wronged and oppressed men, in shutting out, or postponing, their claims, it has, however, no excuse. It would have had, could a man belong, simultaneously, to various political parties, as he can to various benevolent associations, such as the Bible, the Tract, the Temperance Society. In that case, it might have said, that a man can labor in the Liberty Party for the slaves; and, at the same time, in some other political party for the tariff-oppressed ; and, at the same time, in some other political party for the rum-murdered; and, again, in so me other political party for the land-monopoly-robbed ; and, yet again, at the same time, in some other political party, against all-devouring war. But, as the case is, the Liberty Party is without excuse; for, as the case is, a than can cast but one vote at an election: - and if that one vote be against any classes of his fellow-men, or be not, indeed, for them all, his wrong against them is irreparable, inasmuch as he has no other vote, by which to serve them, or even so much as neutralize the injury he has done them. The upshot of his voting is, that he has stained his soul with the two-fold crime of omitting to do good, when it was in his power to do it, and in doing evil instead thereof.
The strongest assurance, which the Liberty Party can give of net repeating its errors, is, that its eyes are, at last, wide open to them ; and that its heart is, at last, sick and ashamed of them. The strongest assurance it can give, that it will never desert its principles for the sake of swelling its numbers, is, that those of its members, who prefer votes to truth, have, already, quit its ranks, to muster a party, in behalf of a candidate, who avows not, and probably cherishes not, a single one of the distinctive principles of the Liberty Party. We do not mean, that all, who were carried away, in the flood of the recent defection from the Liberty Party, are willful deserters from it. Most of them are not. Time and truth will disabuse them of the errors, into which they were seduced : - and they will return to us with the tears of penitence upon their cheeks, and the invincible purpose in their hearts, that their disgraceful and painful experience shall have the happy effect to secure them from being misled hereafter.
We are often asked, whether we really do intend to carry out, in all, directions, the principle of "the equal rights of all men." We answer, that we do. If we are honest men, we must - for this is the great principle of that Party, to which we profess to adhere. Hence, we shall withhold our votes from all such, as do not evince an honest and intelligent purpose to cling to, and faithfully and impartially apply, this great principle. It is true, that we do not look for political any more than theological perfection, in our candidates. It is true, that we expect to vote for candidates, whom we shall be far from agreeing with on all political points. Nevertheless, we repeat, that the candidates, for whom we vote, must evince an honest and intelligent purpose to carry out, faithfully and impartially, the principle of "the equal rights
of all men." But, they, surely, can not evince such purpose, who are slaveholders, or apologists for slaveholders ; or who are in political, or ecclesiastical, fellowship with slaveholders, or the apologists for slave holders. Nor, can they evince it, who, in their habits, or occupations, or sentiments, sanction the horrid and murderous traffic in intoxicating drinks. Nor can they, who are members of secret societies. Nor can they, who are advocates of standing armies and navies, or of any of those expenditures, which are, often, called securities against, as well as preparations for, war, but which might, always, be more properly called provocatives to war. Nor can they, who, holding suffrage td be but a conventional, instead of a natural right, would have its enjoyment by one person turn on the consent of another. Nor can they, who are not opposed to land monopoly, and who do not subscribe to the doctrine, that every human being is as absolutely the inheritor and owner of his needed portion of the soil, as of his needed portion of light, air, and water. Nor can they, who, for whatever reasons, would debar the exercise of the universal and inherent right to buy and sell freely, in all the markets of the world. Nor, in short, can they evince an honest and intelligent purpose to carry out, faithfully and impartially, the princple of "the equal rights of all men," and so entitle themselves to our votes, who are the advocates of any monopoly, or class-legislation, or manifest violation of this great principle of the Liberty Party.
We have, now, made you acquainted with the future course of the Liberty Party. That this Party will be popular, we do not claim. That corrupt men - men, who are more for numbers than principles - for ballot-box victories than for truth - will approve of it, we do not expect. But, that good men, who are also intelligent, will, as fast as they are brought to consider it, give it their approbation, we do not doubt. That God will be on its side is our firm belief : - and, humbly and fervently, do we pray, that He will condescend to make it a means of hastening the time, when oppression and war shall be unknown; when every man, seeing in every other, a brother, aye, and another self, shall seek equal possessions, equal comforts, and equal blessedness for all; and when "the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea."
SPEECH OF BERIAH GREEN.
[WRITTEN OUT BY HIMSELF.]
Mr. President: - It is hardly necessary, that I should occupy your time in saying, that the general aim, which shines through the Address under discussion, commands my admiration. It is doubtless better, if I solicit your attention at all, to refer to particulars, in which I may regard the Address as capable of radical improvement. I know of no better way attempting what I would gladly see accomplished, than to suggest a few somewhat general and comprehensive hints,. On the subject of Civil Government and the mutual relations which bind rulers and subjects together. Before entering on this design, I am strongly tempted to offer some account of certain inconsistencies, which at one point and another, seem to me to mark the Address. The Government here are there must not, we are taught, bring Labor with its relations, interests, operations, under its jurisdiction, further than in some general way to afford it protection. An exception is indeed made in favor of the recent attempt in France to organize labor - an expedient, it is hinted, demanded there by special necessities, which therefore would naturally be only temporary. But while, according to the Address, Government ought not to bring Labor under its jurisdiction, it ought not to permit more than ten hours a day of toil to be exacted of the Laborer. Its negative obligations then are in direct conflict with its positive obligations. Both, it cannot honor. Besides, one thing here is so connected with another, that the Government cannot define the time, clueing which Labor may be exacted, without affecting its relations in various respects. Any responsibility here, therefore implies other responsibilities, which must at the same time be recognized. To the whole subject of Labor, it must, as it may find occasion, accordingly, apply itself.
To every man, moreover, the Address teaches, the Government should secure a "Homestead." He is entitled to this, as inalienably and obviously, as he can be to the enjoyment of air and sunlight! If this be so, it cannot well be denied, that the Soil, in opposition to the doctrine of the Address, lies under the jurisdiction of the Government. Otherwise, it can by no means fulfill any such obligation. How can it assign, directly or indirectly, to any man, his portion of that, which lies beyond its jurisdiction ?
Such inconsistencies in many ways, men of different schools and parties are continually running into, filling the whole sphere of morals with perplexity and confusion. And no wonder. For our countrymen have all along been cherishing, under the name of "the peculiar institution," which has for ages been prolifically producing anomalies and abominations of all sorts and sizes, which it has scattered over the Republic as thickly and universally as ever frogs and
lice were spread over Egypt. The creatures, who have been placed at the head of affairs among us, have cherished Slavery, as if it were the very heart of the nation - as if upon its maintenance and prevalence, our welfare vitally depended. No extravagancies, no humiliations, no sacrifices have been reckoned too great, in the effort to extend and perpetuate its influence. Reason, Conscience, Will - all the attributes of our Human Nature - have been laid upon its altars. We have poured our treasures and our blood at its feet as freely as water can be spilled upon the ground. Every form of social life among us, it has reached - every element of our social existence, it has infected. It has affected our character every way - all our aims, methods, modes of thought, and currents of sentiment. Thus affected, we fall, unconsciously, into the strangest confusions, and utter the flattest contradictions! Arguments we often employ for one purpose and another and on the gravest occasions ludicrously unintelligible or inconclusive. To illustrate, Slavery is manifestly founded on the ruins of the Idea of Rectitude. That is a fundamental and all comprehensive Law of Rectitude, which requires us to treat every thing according to its character - according to its essential attributes and qualities. A person on the one hand, and a chattel on the other, are distinguished from each other, intrinsically, widely, and eternally. They stand opposed to each other not in degree merely, but in kind - in the very nature by which they are respectively characterized. A chattel therefore can never be raised to personality - a person can never be reduced to chattelship. To attempt this, is to assail the very Idea of Rectitude - to boast of success is to affirm, that the Idea of Rectitude has been obliterated. Now this is the boast of Slavery - a boast, uttered in the solemn, measured language of Law! It describes the persons, "horn it thus reduces to slavery, as chattels; and enjoins that as chattels, they should be disposed of. It admits their personality, only when through their personality injuries may be inflicted on them. It tosses them back and forth between personality and chattelship, just as may be convenient for the master and hurtful to the slave. Thus Rectitude is treated not as a Divine Idea, immutable and authoritative; but as a phantom, to be called forward or kept back according to the convenience or caprice of the conjurors, on whom it is expected obsequiously to wait. In other words, the slave is now regarded as a person and now as a chattel - he is forced to fly back and forth from one to the other, shuttle wise, as the passions of the master may demand. Thus the very Idea of Rectitude - its intrinsic, essential, distinctive characteristics - is trampled into nothing. Right and Wrong become merely arbitrary terms, applicable to whatever may suit the occasion; descriptive of this or that or nothing. And yet after consenting, that within the sphere of Slavery every thing belonging to responsibility and obligation should be thrown into utter confusion, our countrymen are continually talking about the rights of the master and the duties of the slave, and about what we ought, to do or aught not to do in our relations to the one and to the other! Nothing more confused or unintelligible can be found at the heart of old Chaos.
Let us take up this general statement under some of the particular applications, of which it is clearly capable. The Slave, it is often alleged, is apt to steal. Those who agree with each other in affirming, that he may well exert himself to escape from his bonds, differ from each other, some in asserting and others in denying, that he has a right to take, anywhere along his course, the horse or the boat, which might aid him in his flight! Now nowhere within the sphere of slavery can theft be committed. And for tire reason, that it annihilates; the institution of property. The right. to appropriate and possess can nowhere be found. For property always implies personality, from which it essentially differs. If the distinctions separating the one from the other be destroyed - if the two be confused with each other, the very Idea of property evanishes. For it is absurd to I suppose, that property can own property - that cattle can own the fields they may be grazing in. To attempt, then, to reduce, in any case, personality to property, is to assail the institution of property. If there be one word of truth - the least significance in the slave-code, the right of property, even in Idea, must be pronounced abolished. Who, then, where this code asserts its authority, can be convicted of stealing ? No such crime can there be committed or even conceived of?
Why should any of us hear with an air of incredulity, that the life of the slave, the code, under which he groans, leaves unprotected; that he is every where and at all times exposed to violence: that caprice or malignity may do their worst upon him with impunity? The thing may not only be so, historically ; it must be so according to the intrinsic tendencies of the slave-laws. The slave is there as such pronounced a chattel. Now the destruction of a chattel, whatever it may be, cannot be murder. Human blood cannot flow in the veins a human heart cannot beat, in a chattel. Where personality is not, can there be murder? A death of violence the slave may suffer often does suffer. Damages may be demanded and obtained. But with what show of propriety can an indictment for a capital offence be required and proceeded on? The death of chattels cannot be murder. The personality of the master, moreover, cannot be maintained under the influences of slavery. The master and the slave in this matter stand side by side - are indissolubly united to each other - must share the same fate - sink or swim in the same element. To strike down the personality of one man, is to strike down the personality of all men. As they all are made of the same stuff - as common blood flows in all their veins - as they are united in one and the same nature, they must, in respect to their personality, stand or fall together. Now in reducing its victim to chatteiship, slavery has triumphed over all that is essential and distinctive in human personality. The very basis, therefore, on which the master proclaims his existence, and asserts his rights, is at best a mere shadow. His blood, as well as the blood of his slave, has lost altogether its human qualities. It is not human blood. To shed it, if there be any significance in the slave-
code - if the very least respect can be due to the doctrines and demands of slavery ; to shed his blood can by no means be murder. If the slaves should this very night, kill all their masters, they would commit no, murder. They would not fairly be liable to indictment or punishment. They are reckoned chattels. Can chattels be accused, and convicted and punished? Whatever might be the results of an insurrection, however violent and extended, we should witness nothing else than a fight among mere animals - one herd rushing wildly upon another! This is the condition to which slavery reduces all its whether they impose, or receive, its manacles. And to this conclusion, all men must yield, who have the least respect for the Laws of Reason. For it is as absurd as it is wicked - it is as ridiculous as it is mischievous, to attempt to mix up personality with property; to treat a name, however it may be spelt, now as a person and now as a chattel - now as an article of merchandize and now as capable of guilt and liable to penalties. Such confusions - enough to frighten chaos itself - compared with which the strife tongues at Babel as a heavenly anthem - put every thing within their reach out of joint. All things are thrown out of place into wild disorder. The sphere of ethics among us is the very home of hurly-burly. Right and Wrong join in a Bachannalian dance - changing places with each other - tripping up each other's heels plunging pell mell into the same excess of riot. Such results must be witnessed wherever slavery is endured by, then, should not the most marked inconsistencies creep out of the same lips - the flattest contradictions fall from the same tongue - the affirmative and negative be stoutly maintained on the same point? If the presence of slavery does not overwhelm us with astonishment, why should we be surprised at any thing, which may creep from the entrails of the hugest mother-monster?
In opposition to such inconsistencies and contradictions, it may well be affirmed that Civil Government has intrinsically and necessarily a character of its own. It is strongly and permanently marked by distinctive elements - has features essentially characteristic. Its origin and authority, all true Thinkers describe as divine. It is as truly and plainly a principle of Philosophy as it is a declaration of this Bible, that, "God is the only Potentate." Civil Government must be a reflection of His Throne. Whatever is not this is not - can never be Civil Government. Repeat its titles and assert its claims as you will; if it not be true to the principles of the Eternal Throne - if it be not be conformed to the arrangements of the Heavenly Kingdom, it may be a cunningly devised, a plausibly defended, a stoutly executed conspiracy. It can in no wise, for no purpose be a Government. How can that be an ordination of God, which is in conflict with His will - opposed to His designs? Can the Deity wage war upon the Deity?
The principles of His Government, God has made the very basis of the human structure - the very soul of our being. His great Laws he has inscribed upon our hearts - wrought into the very texture of our
existence. His voice penetrates right royally the awful depths of our consciousness, giving utterance and expression and effect of the obligations, which bind us, indissolubly and eternally, to His Throne. Are we not conscious of the Law of Rectitude, in which may be found, and from which may be derived, the treasures of Wisdom, Goodness, Power: - in which are hidden, and from which may be evolved all the various specific requisitions, which as adapted to the different aspects and relations of human existence, we are bound to respect; - in which the sum and substance of all authentic Revelations are sublimely condensed and majestically uttered? In this great Law, indelibly impressed on universal Human Nature, all the elements which distinguish and characterize Civil Government, are found. Here is their origin, here their substance. Hence they must be derived, whatever form they may assume - whatever titles they may bear. To assert the claims of Justice - to define and defend Rights - to cherish and express a world embracing Philanthropy - to promote the appropriate objects of Civil Government. On these, the great Majesty - the Sovereign Authority is royally intent. And wherever, in these all-vital respects, the Divine designs are embodied and expressed in human arrangements, there and there only can we find Civil Government.
From the essential elements of Civil Government, the characteristic features of Rulers - who and what then are - may be easily and certainly inferred. They are the men, whatever their condition and employments, who are distinguished for their Godlike qualities - for their integrity, wisdom, magnanimity, power - who are able to give counsel and afford protection. These are Rulers by a "divine right" they are Heaven-anointed. They are Rulers by nature, character, necessity. They are just as truly so, against as with the suffrages of their fellows. As they are not indebted to the popular voice for the high qualities which they are distinguished, so the popular voice cannot degrade them from the high position, where they stand. As their, character is royal, so must be, their influence. Wherever they exert themselves, they will leave the impression of themselves - their own "image and superscription." And this, other they sit upon the ground among criminals or on thrones among heroes.
I am aware, that such words are contradictory to the utterances which the popular voice is continually and confidently repeating. It is but too generally asserted, that the majority can create or destroy at its option, throughout the whole sphere of Civil Government! It can make as it can unmake Rulers! And this, out of all sorts of materials! It can take the sceptre from the hand of Wisdom and confer it on Folly! It can remove Power from the Throne, and put Weakness in its place! It can degrade Heroism and exalt Selfishness! To such feats, the majority is commonly reckoned competent! And so it puts on airs - boasts and swaggers - utters big threats. add makes huge promises, and swells itself into a kind of god! In rice mean time, it cannot confer wisdom, or power, or magnanimity, man-
liness under any form or in any degree upon its favorites. Far enough from that. It does not even understand the meaning of the words which are employed to describe such divine qualities! The majority create Rulers! It does not even know them when in their presence - under their eye-beneath their control !
As to reducing them to degradation and depriving them of power - the majority once made the attempt when the Source of Authority stood incarnate among them. They maligned Him, reproached Him, "smote Him with the fist of wickedness," and finally fastened Him to a cross! They affected to triumph over Him - to exult in the success of their machinations. But what did they effect? Did they pluck His crown from His brow? Did they even reduce His power, or dignity or authority? Far otherwise. Never had He exerted an influence more sublimely kingly - never had He swayed His sceptre with a higher majesty. They could not touch a hair of His anointed Head! Themselves they plunged into the fathomless depths of wickedness, absurdity, misery a Him, their utmost violence and cunning could by no means reach or even approach. Thus has it always been - must always be, with all, who bear His image - with kingly men, the world over. Rulers in character, and thus Rulers by Divine appointment, whether recognized by their fellows or not, they have acted a royal part - have in one way or another offered counsel and protection to those around them. And this, not by virtue of any suffrages they might have received, but through the Heaven-derived elements which shone through their character. And what have they done for the benefit of mankind, who without the character, have assumed the place, of Rulers? Have the suffrages of their fellows made them wise, strong, magnanimous, intrepid, faithful? Made them the ight and the shield and the glory of those, whom they affected to be busy in guiding and feeding and protecting? What else have, they been in the sphere of their responsibilities, but a plague and a nuisance and a curse-pillaging and devouring and wasting whatever bright and beauteous thing lay within their reach? Mere snakes on the throne, the terror of all who were exposed to their loathsome breath and envenomed fangs!
Universal suffrage, as the grand remedy for the political evils men complain of - I know how eagerly and loudly and incessantly this is generally demanded. The people, the people, the people at large give thorn the reins and the goal will doubtless be speedily reached! Give the multitude up to the control of the multitude, and all men will be well provided for! Guidance and protection will be afforded in the largest measure and at the least expense! "Milk and honey without money and without price!" Such are the dreams which men of different parties confidently and emphatically proclaim. Just as if the experiment of a democracy, pure or mixed, had never been witnessed! That, so far as forms, and methods and arrangements in the sphere of government are concerned, have we not seen tried! Wayworn and heart-sore, burdened, benighted anti storm-driven, men have
assailed ice monarchy as the source of their embarrassments. Aristocracy has been brought into requisition, and to this they have looked with eager expectation. Disappointed, mocked, mortified, they have thrown themselves into the arms of Democracy, and found themselves in the embrace of a bear! Maddened and desperate, they have broken loose, and tried what anarchy might do for their relief. From this, always found absolutely unendurable, they sullenly throw themselves at the feet of grim Despotism! Like an eyeless horse in a mill, round and round they go; always seeking, never finding what their restless souls are blindly intent upon - expecting, from there names, forms, shadows, what the neglected Substance can only confer. What substantial good can be gotten out of suffrage, however unlimited and universal? Integrity, Wisdom, Heroism - these are the only source whence human welfare can proceed. And are these the product of any sort of suffrage, however, modified and maintained? If the whole Human Family should vote by acclamation till faint and weary with the business, no poor grain of Wisdom - no shred of Heroism could they thus produce! Multiply blindness, folly, weakness as you will ; what as a result can you expect, but weakness, folly, blindness? The qualities, characteristic of, and requisite to, Government, must proceed from a higher origin than the multitude. They are God-given endowments, quickened into life and activity in the character of Heroes. The Elective Franchise in the hands of a knave or a fool, is a dagger in the hands of a madman or an assassin! It belongs only to those, who can wield it wisely and well, in subserviency to, and promotion of, the General Welfare ; who, while they distinguish between wisdom and folly, magnanimity and meanness, power and weakness, exert themselves to raise those and those only to the "head of affairs," who are worthy of the position and alive to its responsibilities. or it is the business of the elector, not to create, but to select, Rulers, and offer his allegiance to them. If he has no eye or heart for this business; if he can see no essential difference between a Government and a Conspiracy; if he feels quite at liberty, in disposing of his vote, to prefer a usurper, who may favor his cherished designs, to the king who, "without partiality or hypocrisy," will execute justice, shew mercy and promote every way the General Welfare, he has no more right to vote, than a blind man has to preside over the sphere of optics. The Elective Franchise, as well as Official Authority, should be kept within natural limits ; and these limits are to be found in the elements and attributes of the character, which may be maintained and manifested. For no man can have a right to do what he is not qualified to accomplish.
In preparing these thoughts for the Press, I shall take the liberty to suggest a hint or two, which I did not urge on the ear of the Convection. The cherished and honored author of the Address somewhat emphatically affirmed, in publicly explaining and defending it, that "the greatest scoundrel was as fully entitled to the Elective Franchise, as the most distinguished saint."This strong statement drew
forth, I know not how generally, expressions of applause. Now scoundrels, not always, perhaps, the greatest, often find their way to the State prison. Ought we not to acquiesce in the equity and wisdom of the arrangement, which prevents them, afterwards, from wielding the Elective Franchise? On what ground may this arrangement be maintained and commended. Clearly on this; that driven by their passions into the commission of crimes, they, are to be regarded as having lost self-possession - as unmanned - as unable healthfully to exert themselves - manfully to wield their powers. Now ought not the principle which this announcement implies, and by which it is supported to be universally applied and with strict impartiality? The General Welfare obviously demands, that it should be applied to all vassals and victims of passion. But who, a thousand voices, demand shall make the application? Those, I reply, those of course whoever and wherever they may be, who are qualified for such an office. If it be affirmed, as it often is, that no such thing can be attempted - that the principle in question can be applied only to minors and convicts. I have only to say, we must then go on in the sphere of Politics as hitherto we have proceeded; we must stumble blindly along, we not how or whither, and, as a result, fall into all manner of absurdities, contradictions and embarrassments. If the blind, as hitherto, are to be entrusted with the conduct of the blind; both those who lead and those who are led, must, as hitherto, be precipitated into the abyss.
The truth is, a truth to be most earnestly and gratefully recognized, we are shut up, wherever the General Improvement and Welfare are to be promoted; we are shut up, absolutely and inevitably, and by a necessity as beneficent as it is imperious; WE ARE SHUT UP TO CHARACTER. It is high time, this all vital truth were studied, understood, applied. It is as true in Politics as any where else, that character, is every thing - that in it, is to be sought, from it, to, be derived whatever of good the Human Family is capable of appropriating and enjoying. We may task our ingenuity and exhaust our strength in devising "ways and means" - we may multiply expedients to the utmost stretch of human computation; may increase our exertions, without measure and without end; but without character, nothing can be done to bless mankind. Here we may give an impulse and there impose a check - we may modify and remodify - add at one point and subtract from another - condense or expand - quicken or retard, we can do nothing for ourselves or others without character. With character, what may we not attempt in hope and triumphantly achieve? Your patience will permit me to offer a few illustrations.
Men often mark out with much solicitude the limits, within which, they allege, the operations of the Government should be confirmed. The boundaries prescribed, must by no means be overstepped. Here they set up a way-mark, there utter a caution, and at another point impose a cheek. And after all, they find large occasion for alarm and complaint. The Constitation, they affirm, is violated - its provisions treated, with con-
tempt - its characteristic objects, sacrificed. How often and how loudly does not the party out of power charge the party in power with such enormities! But what remedy can be applied to such evils where they exist - what provision can be made against them where they exist - what provision can be made against them where they threaten to assail us? We may declare and remonstrate and enact. One party may snatch the reins from the hands of another. New measures may be proposed - new expedients hit upon. But nothing in any such way can be effected. Put true Rulers at the helm, and all is well. The heart of Heroism - the light of Wisdom - the arm of Power - these are the stuff out of which Government is to be constructed. All else is "vanity and vexation of spirit." Where these are, there is counsel and protection - there human necessities are provided for, human rights asserted - progress made toward the true goal. Till you can have too much of these, you cannot have too much of what deserves the name of Government. With these, your limitations and checks and cautions are needless - without these, futile.
Taxation - how many delicate and difficult questions may it not suggest? How much shall be exacted? By what method shall it be collected? Shall it be direct or indirect? How shall it be appropriated? Shall salaries be larger or smaller? How may the taxed best be persuaded to honor their obligations? Such questions very naturally attract deep attention - awaken warm discussion - open the way for various experiments and results. But while those who are placed at "the head of affairs" care only for the wages, leaving the work to take care of itself, how can the problem of taxation be happily disposed of? They may bear the title of Rulers, while they themselves are the slaves of prejudice and passion - they may profess a warm regard for the General Welfare, while they are wholly engrossed with their own petty objects: they may seem to be intent on affording counsel and protection, while really busy in offering insults and inflicting injuries. They may set up high claims to respect, reverences, obedience, while they deserve abhorrence and execration. They may be called the Government, while they are nothing better than a conspiracy. Their official activity, however invested with an air of solemnity and dignity, may be nothing better than mischief doing on a broad scale. The persuasion may be general and well-grounded, that the less they attempt the better for their country - that our obligations to them increase as their activity diminishes. All this may be, alas, has often been. To pay taxes, directly or indirectly, to support any such government, cannot be otherwise than a grievous necessity. Whatever men may say, their objections lie, not against the mode, but the thing, whatever mode may be preferred. Activity in committing crimes - mischief doing on whatever scale and with whatever pretensions, we cannot be expected to pay wages for with complacency and alacrity. It is quite enough to endure insults and injuries, without submitting to inconvenience and expenses to reward those, who inflict the one and offer the other. Here within a narrow compass lie all the difficulties and embarrassments, which the problem of taxation im-
plies and presents. But for guides and defenders, give us men who can defend and guide, and every thing becomes plain and easy - the embarrassments and difficulties, which cannot otherwise be grappled with evanish at once and forever. For engrossed with their work, they will not clamor for their wages. As otherwise, so in self-denial in moderation, simplicity, frugality - a readiness to help themselves and assist others, they will be an "example to the flock." In whatever goes to reduce human wants and increase human supplies, their influence will be inspiring and powerful. To support such Rulers, light taxes will suffice. And these will be paid right cheerfully. How can it be otherwise under the persuasion, that they "have earned their money" - have returned an ample equivalent for whatever they may have taken - that all the demands which are urged on their account, are most obviously and certainly for value received." Thus and thus only can the problem of taxation he divested of its difficulties be solved to general satisfaction. While all this is overlooked, we may fatigue our brains and rack our inventions as we will, in devising ways and means to raise revenues and collect taxes, we never can accomplish what we are thus intent upon. The great principle of Work and Wages must here as elsewhere be admitted and applied.
Let us look for a moment at the question which is beginning to attract so much attention - the question of Land-monopoly. On this subject, one declares and affirms - another qualifies or denies. Strong statements are made and promptly contradicted. All sorts of metaphysics are brought into requisition - all sorts of arguments are framed and urged. Here it is affirmed that the Soil is naturally as free as air or sunlight, and appropriation on any ground and to any extent, is no better than robbery. There, it is alleged, that appropriation should not be absolutely excluded - only kept within narrow limits. But however their doctrines may be qualified and modified, almost all agree that Land-monopoly should be abhorred. If the thing, however it may be to be defined, could be done away, almost all agree, that the condition of mankind would be greatly improved. To be sure, I may say in passing on, that our relations to the Atmosphere and the Soil may be the same, if the one, as truly and fully as the other can be fenced in and improved; if human skill and industry can make the air as well as the land ten times better than they found it - ten times as available for all the ends of human existence; if on the air as on the soil we may write our names in permanent characters - may with the one as with the other mingle our very blood, and impress it upon it our very image. But without making a long pause at any such point in our progress, the hint may be permitted, that if the soil be to be reduced to a common, those who are found upon it, must either have, or not have, what may deserve the name of character. Some may be supposed to he with, and others without this highest of all acquisitions. From good character, the results of rectitude, wisdom, enterprise, industry, fidelity may be expected. Bad character will betray itself in dishonesty, idleness, self-indulgence, recklessness. Put
those notorious for the latter qualities on the same common with those distinguished for the former, and what sort of a "community of goods" should we witness? A "division of labor" would be made, difficult of description and hard to be borne! Dishonesty would lay the hand of violence on the productions of Rectitude - Idleness would riot on the fruits of Industry - Self-indulgence would throw its burdens on the shoulders of Enterprise, and Recklessness would tread Fidelity under foot. Thus a common soil would produce little else than a common misery. But suppose a sound character any where, and the evils of Land-monopoly would not be to be provided against. For Nature, whose laws are the basis of sound character, frowns on all, monopolies. Where her voice is heard - where her authority is respected - no monopoly can be endured. very man will regard himself as belonging "soul, spirit and body," to every other man. As a member of a great household, he will devote himself earnestly to the general welfare, in the best use, of which his powers and resources may be capable. The Individual and the Social will be continually and vigorously playing into each other's hands - mutually encouraging and strengthening each other in the great enterprise, to which Human Nature is Heaven-summoned. Whatever arrangements might be preferred and whatever methods adopted, the general result could not but be beautiful, grand, divine. Thus through character only can the evils of monopoly be I avoided - thus and thus only can men be brought to subserve each other's improvement and welfare.
Well enough in theory! the exclamation rings on every side; well enough in theory, but wholly impracticable. In Utopia, such doctrines might be to be admitted and applied ; but not in this world. Here, we must remember, that cunning, fraud, violence, are in the ascendant; that passion sways the sceptre; that the usurper holds the throne: this we must remember and act accordingly. We must adjust ourselves as best we can to the arrangements and usages which prevail - to the designs and methods with which the majority are engrossed - to the general sentiment and to popular opinion. Justice, Philanthropy, Magnanimity, are in bad odor amidst the practical arrangements of life; what can be effected by asserting their authority and insisting on their claims? Thus men allow themselves to talk - thus absurdly and wickedly - like shallow, canting Atheists as they are! For all history proves clearly and certainly, that in the sphere of polities as elsewhere, all other methods are impracticable. The experiment has been made a thousand times, and in a thousand ways, and always with the same results. Expedients innumerable, fresh from she abused brains of the cunning, have been employed to ward off the natural effects of Injustice and Misanthropy. In vain, everywhere and always. Sooner or later, in one way or another, they have turned out - injustice and misanthropy have turned out to be misery. They have subverted empires, broken thrones to pieces, driven nations, one after another, into the abyss. On a broad scale and a narrow scale, publicly and privately, in individuals and in communities, they have
ever shown themselves to be what they are - death in disguise, It is said, mankind cannot get along without them. It is most certain, then, that no getting along is to be expected - no other than what we witness in the horse sinking in the mire - straining, and struggling, and plunging with the certain result of going deeper and deeper in the element he is contending with. If it be impracticable to assert the demands and maintain the claims, and secure the influences of what may deserve the name of Government - if we cannot hope to avail ourselves in this world of the guidance of wisdom and the protection of power, then are we either orphans or outcasts; either God is a more figure of speech, or he has thrown us upon the "tender mercies" of the devil! If we cannot have Wisdom, Justice, Philanthropy, we can have nothing but Despair. Our life is wrapped up in divine Ideas; if they fail us, we are dead men!
But we have no occasion for despair or even despondency. We can at once and where we are, in despite of fraud and force, under any form and in any degree; we can, in God's name, do whatever our improvement and welfare demands. If we will open our eyes, we shall see that the Idea of Government shines like the face of God upon our consciousness - asserting there the authority of Wisdom, Goodness, Power. To this authority we may submit - to this, in the very face of cunning and violence, may swear allegiance. Thus bound, we may maintain our integrity and fidelity with the high result of a character which can no where, and in no way be manifested without presenting to mankind THE MODEL on which Government is to be constituted and maintained.
We can treat all conspirators, however commended to our confidence and respect, according to their character, sternly and steadfastly resisting their false claims - promptly and resolutely, refusing to obey them under the title of Rulers. We may submit to their dictation we yield to the demands of highwaymen, whom we cannot escape. Thus we may pay taxes, directly or indirectly exacted, to furnish them with the facilities and luxuries on which they may be intent. But we shall refrain, on all occasions, by any voluntary token of regard, from recognizing as truthful and well-grounded the pretensions they set up.
Our allegiance to true Rulers, we may cordially, faithfully, intrepidly maintain. We may afford them countenance and support -- we may do them honor. We may avail ourselves of their wisdom magnanimity, and power. Thus we may, in despite of the distracting influences and disturbing forces to which we maybe exposed, sustain their authority. We may thus, in the most effective manner, commend them to the confidence and veneration of our fellows. THIS IS THE ONLY WAY IN WHICH IT IS NOT DISGRACEFUL AND INJURIOUS TO ELECTIONEER.
Thus may we achieve, in opposition to all the intrigues, arts , and exertions of all parties and demagogues whatever, that may be armed for the conflict, a noble triumph. Thus may we acquire the self-possession and inward harmony - secure for our powers a happy develop-
ent and a healthful exercise, and obtain for ourselves the appropriate objects of Civil Government. Thus will Heaven enrich us with a pledge, sure to be redeemed, that the reign of the "Only Potentate," the True King will be universal; that "His Kingdom shall come, and His will be done, upon the Earth as in the Heavens."
O, when for ends so sublime, for purposes so divine, shall a standard be set up, and multitudes gathered around it! To belong to such a party - truly "the party of the whole" what a privilege! What powers and prerogatives must it not wield! What influences must it not exert! What results must it not produce! Oh, Friends and Brothers! Why should not we, this very hour, call it - in the name of God, call it into existence, and devote to its high objects our entire being now and forever?
SPEECH OF GERRIT SMITH.
[WRITTEN OUT BY HIMSELF.]
Six years ago last January, a Convention of the Liberty Party of the State of New York sent forth an Address to the American slaves. The Address bade them, regard themselves as men, and exercise the rights of men. Among other things, it bade them take the horse, the boat, the food, the clothing, necessary to help themselves out of slavery - and not so much, as pause to enquire, who owned the property they were taking. The Address was, of course, very offensive, not to say horrifying to the people at large. At the first, no small share even of the Liberty Party were astonished at this new and strange anti-slavery pleasure. With scarcely any exceptions however, the whole of that Party, very soon, became reconciled to the Address, and expressed their hearty approbation of it. I am sorry to say, that Dr. Bailey never became reconciled to it. It was, however, hardly to be hoped, that he who condemned the merciful and Christ-like conduct of Thompson. Work and Burr, as an imprudence for which they ought to suffer, could become reconciled to the Address. He criticised it from week to week; but would never do it the justice to give. it a place in his newspaper.
Great, guilty, sad, is the change, which has come over the Liberty Party, since the time, when, almost without an exception, it cordially approved of the Address to the slaves. It has trifled with its fundamental principles, with its convictions, and its character, and has ruined itself and we are here, this day, for the purpose of infusing new life into it, and of giving it that truthful and glorious direction, from which its bas so shamefully swerved and fallen.
Where, now, is the Liberty Party? I do not ask, where is the real Liberty Party. The little number who still abide in Liberty Party principles, and who, therefore, constitute the real Liberty Party, are still engaged in their proper work. But, where, I ask, is the nominal Liberty Party? Having, two years ago, sanctioned the voting for pro-slavery men in New Hampshire ; and having, about the sometime, fallen in with the New York State scheme of voting for pro-slavery men; and having, recently, nominated for the Presidency of the United States a man, who holds not a single one of the distinctive doctrines of the Liberty Party, and who neither has, nor pretends, any title to the name of an abolitionist; - having, I say, done all this, and practised many other gross violations of its principles, it is just where you might expect to find it. It is ruined. It has even recalled its testimonies against the constitutionality of slavery - and these where the testimonies of more than nine-tenths of its newspapers, public speakers, and public writers. Many of its most influential members are so shameless, as openly to propose, that the Liberty Party come down to the Wilmot Proviso ground, and vote with and for Whigs and Democrats : - and the great mass of the nominal Liberty Party are obviously drifting in that disgraceful direction. This scheme of converting the Liberty Party into a mere Wilmot Proviso party is commended by Dr. Bailey as "liberal and judicious;" and, yet, the Liberty Patty continues to patronize and praise him, and to speak of his paper as a Liberty Party paper. Again, Dr. Bailey virtually, takes the ground in his paper, and Mr. Hale also in the Senate, that it is wrong for a person to make his escape from slavery. For surely, if it be wrong to help a person escape from slavery, (and this they both distinctly intimate,) it must be wrong for a person to escape from it. What it is wrong to help a person do, it is, of course, wrong for him to do.
Now how came Dr. Bailey and Mr. Hale to take this ground? It is manifest, that they took it, because the negro is not yet, in their eyes, fully a man, and fully possessed of the rights of a man. They, surely, would not have taken it, had the seventy-seven slaves, who escaped from Washingtion, been seventy-seven white persons, who had escaped from the slavery of one of the Barbary States. In that case they would have justified the escape; and, instead of stigmatizing, would have honored all who bad a part in promoting it.
After all, I do not greatly wonder at Dr. Bailey's and Mr. Hale's course. In common with ourselves, they have been educated to regard the negro as less than a man - as fit to be a slave - and, there-
fore, not, a man - for he, who is fit to be a slave, is not a man. But, this false education, the Liberty Party, long ago, claimed to have surmounted; and, hence, whatever the merit of Dr. Bailey and Mr. Hale, they are not representatives of the Liberty Party.
It will, perhaps, be said, that Dr. Bailey's and Mr. Hale's conduct is to be accounted for, not on the ground of their low sense of the manhood of the negro ; but on the ground of their respect for slave laws. Doubtless, they have somewhat of this respect. But the fact, that they have it, is not sufficient to explain their conduct. They feel no respect whatever for the laws which hold white men, in slavery. Were their own sons under such laws, they would not reproach me for getting them out no, not if to do so, I should resort to all that "concealment," ay, and " strategy and trickery," of which Dr. Bailey boasts he has "an instinctive abhorrence." They would excuse me yes. and they would honor me, and love me for my contempt of the laws, which held their sons in bondage; and for my blacking of the faces of their sons, or practising any other disguise, by which they might be brought into the enjoyment of sweet liberty. Talk of Dr. Bailey's and Mr. Hale's respect for slave laws! It is a respect for laws, which chain the black man - not for laws, which chain the white man. And this difference is because they have not yet come to regard the black man as a man. It is, in other words, because they have not yet become Liberty Party men - have not yet imbibed its spirit, and settled down upon its principles.
Would that Dr. Bailey and Mr. Hale were in the Liberty Party! And, I believe, that, had the Liberty Party continued to abide in its principles, these worthy men, and very probably, those other worthy men, Giddings, Palfrey, Tuck, and Slingerland, would, ere this, have been in it. Mr. Slingerland, although I have mentioned him last, is by no means, least. No member of Congress has, so much as he, written, like a man, an abolitionist, a Christian on the subject, of slavery. Would, that they were all in the Liberty Party! Would, that the soul of the Liberty Party were their soul! Would, that the great unfettered soul - the beautiful free spirit of its founder, Myron Holley, were, their soul and their spirit! Had this been the case, Dr. Bailey and Mr. Hale would not have been found, on the occasion referred to, still bound up in the frigid decencies and icy conventionalisms of society, or betraying a false regard for man-crushing and God-defying laws. Oh, had they been abolitionists I (-we cheerfully admit that they are anti-slavery men; - but, whilst it is much to be an abolitionist, it is little to he an slavery man - ) oh, had they been abolitionists, they would not have been ashamed of the chain - they would not have been ashamed of the secret - of the seventy-seven unhappy slaves. They would, not have been so forward to tell - the Senate and the world, that they were not in the secret of the seventy-seven; and had no other knowledge of their escape, than had come to the ears of the public. Oh, had they been abolitionists, and entirely delivered from the demon of caste, and the dignity of aristocracy; and had they
drank in the idea of human brotherhood and human unity, and [unreadable] themselves to be one with the poorest of the poor, and with the least of all the outcasts; they would, not only have been ashamed of, but most probably they would not have been ignorant of, the secret - in it, with all their hearts.
You recollect, that Paul's letter to the Phillipians was written from Rome. There is one passage in it very suitable to be quoted on this occasion. It is this: "The brethren which are with me greet you. All the saints salute you - chiefly they, that are of Caesar's household." Inmates of the Emperor's kitchen, and slaves, were, doubtless, most of those who are here spoken of, as belonging to caesar's household. Such were Paul's companions. His letter to Philemon, was, also, written from Rome. That, too, favors the idea, that the enslaved, the poor, and despised, were the companions of the learned and refined Paul. That letter makes it probable, that many poor and forlorn ones found him out, and opened their hearts to his heart - pouring the sorrows of their hearts into the sympathies of his. No wonder, that they found him out. It is easy for the wretched and despised to find out such a heart as Paul's. There is a magnetic sympathy in it, which draws them unerringly and unresistingly to it. Even runaway slaves were so inspired with confidence in the sympathy and trueness of Paul's heart, as to venture to tell him their sevrets and griefs. It so happened that Paul knew the master of one of these runaways. This master had, since the escape of his slave, been converted to Christ - and that, too, through Paul's instrumentality. It was because of this conversion that Paul sent back the runaway to him. For it was this conversion, which assured Paul, and enabled Paul to assure the runaway, that his master, now become a Christian - a Christian, mind you - not a Church-member - would "receive him, not now as a slave, but above a slave, a brother beloved." It is entirely safe to send back a fugitive slave to a master who has become a Christian - only be sure that he has become a Christian. If he has become but a Church-member, he will bind the chains of his slaves the tighter. Henry Clay has become a Church-member. But, ala, the continued bondage of his slaves prove to their poor, broken, desolate hearts, the infinitely wide difference there may be betwwen a Church-member and a Christian.
I have said, that Paul's prison in Rome was, because of his great and true and loving heart, the resort of the wronged and wretched. Such, also, should be an anti-slavery printing office in Washington: and such, also, should be an anti-slavery Senator's room in Washington: and such, also, should be an anti-slavery President's house in Washington. These should all be resorts for the outraged and crushed. Thither should all the victims of tyranny, and all who are perishing for sympathy and succor, feel themselves to be irresistibly attracted. Indeed, one of the most appropriate questions which could be put, respecting a candidate for the Presidency, is, "Will he, if elected, keep open house for the poor?"
[Mr. Smith here drew from his pocket a letter, which he had, a little time before leaving home, received from a friend in the city of Washington. He read the following part of it to show how different are the room and the heart of this friend from the rooms and the hearts of Dr. Bailey and Mr. Hale: - "For weeks past I have been in a state of constant excitement and anxiety in reference to the colored : people. In short, they have been upon my hands, all winter. By might and by day, and at all hours, they have thronged my room; and I have listened to their tales of sorrow and outrage, till my heart sickened, and I was absolutely obliged to go away for a respite. There are a number of most deeply interesting cases to be provided for, growing out of the recent capture of those, who attempted to escape. How we shall succeed is yet to be seen."]
What! - said Mr. Smith - Dr. Bailey and Mr. Hale not know the secret of the escape of the seventy-seven slaves! No honor to them if they did not. And it is not probable, that they will ever be let into such a secret, until they are in a different attitude of soul towards the slave. Whilst Dr. Bailey and Mr. Hale continue to think it a disgraceful thing to run away from slavery, and to help persons run away from slavery, the slave will be no more like to give his confidence to them than to John C. Calhoun or James K. Polk.
Job was the chief civil ruler in his community. Would that a Job were, the chief civil ruler in ours also! In reporting his manner of conducting himself in the supreme magistracy, Job says: "I delivered, the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him." I was a father to the poor, and the cause, which I knew not, I searched out."He went among the poor, to inquire into their wrongs and sorrows. Very far was he from boasting, that he kept himself ignorant of the secrets of the poor. No very suitable tenant of the White House would Job make in the esteem of Dr. Bailey and Mr. Hale. Nor would good king Josiah be anymore suitable for the praise by which God distinguishes him is: " He judged (did justice to) the cause of the poor and needy." Alas, what false views of civil government have Dr. Bailey and Mr. Hale, in common with nearly all men ! In their conceptions, it is a cold, heartless thing, which is no less reserved toward, and remote from, its poor subjects, than are Dr. Bailey and Mr. Hale reserved toward, and remote from, the slaves around them. But, God gave civil government - I had well nigh said - to be on terms of companionship with the poor. Certain it is, that He gave it chiefly for the, purpose of protecting the rights of those, who are too poor, ignorant and weak to protect them themselves.
The men, who, under God, are to carry forward the anti-slavery cause to its triumph, are men, who identify themselves with the slaves, and are willing to be hated and despised for that identification. They must not be ashamed to be called slave-stealers. Nay, they must not be ashamed to do that, which the slaveholders call slave-stealing. They must have none of that "instinctive abhorrence" of this low, vulgar,
mean, thing, which Dr. Bailey so proudly feels. Low, vulgar, mean, thing did I call it to help slaves escape from the clutches of their oppressors! As I live, and as God lives, there is not on earth a more honorable employment. There is not, in all the world, a more honorable tomb stone than that, on which the slaveholder would inscribe. "Here lies a slave-stealer." A better abolition test there is not than this very stigma of slave-stealing, which he has to bear, who helps off the poor slave. The laws are against him: and nothing could he do, which would bring out the slaveholders more strongly against him and by public opinion, which is so extensively controlled by the slaveholders, he is stamped with meanness.
Much, very much, are they mistaken, who flatter themselves, that they can greatly serve the anti-slavery cause, and yet not brave the pro-slavery public sentiment - and yet not treat the slave-laws, as no more worthy of conscientious regard, than the laws of littler pirates. I say littler pirates - for slaveholders are the biggest of all pirates. They, who, with Dr. Bailey, look with "instinctive abhorrence" on the violation of the slave-laws, rather than on the slave-laws themselves, can be of but very little worth to the anti-slavery cause. One hearty, whole-souled, glorious slave-stealer, like Charles T. Torrey, or David Ruggles, is worth a whole world of them.
I have alluded to the name of Charles T. Torrey. Three years ago, that was, in the esteem of Liberty Party men, a sacred and greatly beloved name. But, how are those Liberty Party men, who admit that Dr. Bailey and Mr. Hale represent them - how are they treating that name? They are disgracing it. They are pouring contempt upon it. To approve of Dr. Bailey and Mr. Hale is to dishonor and condemn Charles T. Torrey.
But, I must bring my remarks to a close. I repeat, that Dr. Bailey's and Mr. Hale's unhappy course, on the occasion referred to, was owing to the fact, that they had not yet come to regard the negro as a man, and to accord to him the full rights of his full manhood. Had they but felt, in their inmost souls, his manhood and his rights; they would not have cast reproach on the attempt to rescue the seventy seven from slavery. Their dignity would not have stood aloof from that attempt. They would have been in the secret of that attempt. They would have been in it, fully and effectively - in it from first to last - from its very inception to its disastrous result. I said dicastrow. But, had the poor, ignorant, helpless, affrighted slaves been favored with Dr. Bailey's and Mr. Hale's counsel, the result, instead of being disastrous, might, and probably would, have been triumphant. Instead therefore, of proudly congratulating themselves on their ignorance of this slave-secret, Dr. Bailey and Mr. Hale should be paining their hearts with the reflection, that, had they condescended to acquaint themselves with it, their seventy-seven brothers and sisters might now be enjoying liberty, and so, also, the three men, whom the seventy-seven found willing to become the depositories of their secret.
Do my bearers all believe the negro to be woman ? Do they all believe slave-laws to be but the laws of pirates? Do they all believe that to help e slave out of slavery by endeavors, however concealed or sly, is, not ouly not wrong, but perfectly and gloriously right? - not only not disgraceful, but Heaven-honored and Heaven-loved? Do they all believe these truths? Then, let them all give their confidence to the men, who identify themselves with these unpopular and hated truths - not the men who disown and trample upon them.
[Mr. Smith took his seat; - but he had scarcely taken it, before he was called up to prove, that his charges, as against Mr. Hale, are true. No doubt was expressed - probably none was felt - that they are true as against Dr. Bailey. Mr. Smith then read from Congressional documents to prove, as he did triumphantly, that his charges are true, as well against Mr. Hale, as against Dr. Bailey. The last which he read, was Mr. Hale's disclaimer, on the floor of the Senate, of having denied to the slaveholders (even of the District of Columbia) the right of property in their slaves; and his further disclaimer of having denied, that it would be robbery to deprive them of their slaves; ur of having ever said anything which would justify the imputation of such a sentiment to him.]
Having finished his reading, Mr. Smith exclaimed - Oh, that there bad been in the American Senate, when slaveholders were impudently and arrogantly insisting on the right of property in human beings, such a man as there was found to be, in the British Senate, on a similar occasion. In other words, Oh, that John P. Bale had had a soul in him to say, as did Henry Brougham: "Tell me not of rights: talk not of the property of the planter in his slaves. I deny the rights. I acknowlege not the property. The principles, the feelings of our common nature rise in rebellion against it. Be the appeal made to the understanding, or to the heart, the sentence is the same that rejects it. In vain, you tell me of laws, which sanction such a claim. There is a law, above all the enactments of human codes - the same throughout the world - the same in all times : - it is the law written by the finger of God on the heart of man; and by that law, unchangeable and eternal, while men despise fraud, and loathe rapine, and abhor blood, they shall reject with indignation the wild and guilty fantasy, that man can hold property in man."
TO BERIAH GREEN, GERRIT SMITH, AND OTHERS,
Members of the National Liberty Convention.
Manifestly men can never be employed upon a task more sublimely divine, then that of embodying government upon this earth, realizing the kingdom of heaven, of light, order, justice, wisdom, power, amid the relations of the visible. This must be to unite ourselves with the Supreme Will, in the maintenance of those objects for which He wears His crown, and sways His sceptre. It must be to perform the errand of our existence, to honor the filial relation, to copy the deeds and reflect the image of our Father. So, not otherwise, are we armed with the loftiest prerogatives, enriched with the highest success, made joyous and blessed in the immortal life.
Great need we are sure there is of the luminous words and brave deeds of wise and strong men, in our republic at the present hour. In the midst of the deep delusions, rotten ethics, bloody injustice, shameless villainies, which meet the eye from every direction, how few care or dare to assert and express truth and justice, to enter in sacred earnest and in the use of productive methods, upon the tasks to which all are heaven-summoned! Numbers who claim so to do, are ever insanely occupied upon the old endeavor, alike exhausting and fruitless, to subvert the Eternal Throne, to extract the blessings of wisdom from folly, success, welfare, salvation from malignant knavery, the benefits of government by committing themselves to the keeping of those cunning and cruel quacks, who perpetrate misrule, anarchy and destruction upon whatever they are able to touch. Sure as there is Living God, no such murderous conspiracies shall prosper. His withering voice shall smite them with defeat, His almighty arm sweep them to irretrievable ruin.
Nor can any significant result await the exertions of those, however sincere, who attempt any labor without having gotten hold upon something like a just and appropriate model. How utterly vain to build any structure, even the simplest, in utter neglect, or absolute ignorance of the constructive law! Yet such we conceive to be the position of the majority perhaps among those who are reckoned among the most active and earnest philanthropists of the age. Do the doctrines of popular sovereignty as widely admitted and strenuously asserted even by our brethren of the League, of the abolition of the gallows, of the distinction claimed to be fundamental between the objects of ecclesiastical and political arrangements, express any thing higher than some half-truth? Have their zealous advocates not confounded the meagre defective actual, with the rich all-vitalizing idea? How much government will such dogmas freely received and fully applied be able to confer? To what better than atheism and popularized anarchy can they conduct? For ourselves we cannot afford to spend. our strength in co-operation with those who do battle upon false issues, who amid the loud cries, articulated or not, which reach their ears from their perishing brethren, for guidance and redemption, have nothing to offer but the cold empty negation of "Laissez-faire," in other words treachery to the obligations of their existence and desertion of human nature at the point of its most pressing necessities.
From you, dear brethren, some are expecting, all need, true and soul-inspiring words upon these life-problems, the exhibition of a lofty and divine model for exertion, and brave heroic deeds for its expression. The hopes of those, and the needs of all, may you through the assistance of your All-Good Father be enabled to realize and supply!
Yours, ever, for human redemption,
L. D. L. WEEKS, Brownhlem
EDWARD MORSE, Brownhelm
C. A. COOLEY, Brownhelm
C. D. B. Masts, Elyria, Ohio.
June 11, 1848.