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which called the first Constitutional Convention in 1835, all were Democrats; and in the Convention itself, composed of eighty-seven members, only seven were Whigs. The Convention of 1836, which gave the final assent, originated in a Democratic Convention on the 29th October, in the County of Wayne, composed of one hundred and twenty-four delegates, all Democrats, who proceeded to resolve
"That the delegates of the Democratic party of Wayne, solemnly impressed with the spreading evils and dangers which a refusal to go into the Union has brought upon the people of Michigan, earnestly recommend meetings to be immediately convened by their fellow-citizens in every County of the State, with a view to the expression of their sentiments in favor of the election and call of another Convention, in time to secure our admission into the Union before the first of January next."
Shortly afterwards, a committee of five, appointed by this Convention, all leading Democrats, issued a circular, "under the authority of the delegates of the County of Wayne," recommending that the voters throughout Michigan should meet and elect delegates to a Convention to give the necessary assent to the Act of Congress. In pursuance of this call, the Convention met; and, as it originated in an exclusively party recommendation, so it was of an exclusively party
character. And it was the action of this Convention that was submitted to Congress, and, after discussion in both bodies, on solemn votes, approved.
But the precedent of Michigan has another feature, which is entitled to the gravest attention, especially at this moment, when citizens engaged in the effort to establish a State Government in Kansas are openly arrested on the charge of treason, and we are startled by tidings of the maddest efforts to press this procedure of preposterous Tyranny. No such madness prevailed under Andrew Jackson; although, during the long pendency of the Michigan proceedings, for more than fourteen months, the Territorial Government was entirely ousted, and the State Government organized in all its departments. One hundred and thirty different legislative acts were passed, providing for elections, imposing taxes, erecting corporations, and establishing courts of justice, including a Supreme Court and a Court of Chancery. All process was issued in the name of the people of the State of Michigan. And yet no attempt was made to question the legal validity of these proceedings, whether legislative or judicial. Least of all did any menial Governor, dressed in a little brief authority, play the fantastic tricks which we now witness in Kansas;
nor did any person, wearing the robes of justice, shock high Heaven with the mockery of injustice now enacted by emissaries of the President in that Territory. No, sir; nothing of this kind then occurred. Andrew Jackson was President.
Senators such as these are the natural enemies of Kansas; and I introduce them with reluctance, simply that the country may understand the character of the hostility which must be overcome. Arrayed with them, of course, are all who unite, under any pretext or apology, in the propagandism of Human Slavery. To such, indeed, the time-honored safeguards of popular rights can be a name only, and nothing more. What are trial by jury, habeas corpus, the ballot-box, the right of petition, the liberty of Kansas, your liberty, sir, or mine, to one who lends himself not merely to the support at home, but to the propagandism abroad, of that preposterous wrong, which denies even the right of a man to himself? Such a cause can be maintained only by a practical subversion of all rights. It is, therefore, merely according to reason that its partisans should uphold the Usurpation in Kansas.
To overthrow this Usurpation is now the special, importunate duty of Congress, admitting of no hesitation or postponement. To this end, it must lift itself from the cabals of candidates, the machina
tions of party, and the low level of vulgar strife. It must turn from that Slave Oligarchy which now controls the Republic, and refuse to be its tool. Let its power be stretched forth towards this distant Territory, not to bind, but to unbind; not for the oppression of the weak, but for the subversion of the tyrannical; not for the prop and maintenance of a revolting Usurpation, but for the confimation of Liberty.
"These are imperial arts, and worthy thee!"
Let it now take its stand between the living and dead, and cause this plague to be stayed. All this it can do; and if the interests of Slavery did not oppose, all this it would do at once, in reverent regard for justice, law, and order, driving far away all the alarms of war; nor would it dare to brave the shame and punishment of this Great Refusal. But the Slave Power dares any thing; and it can be conquered only by the united masses of the People. From Congress to the People, I appeal.
Already Public Opinion gathers unwonted forces to scourge the aggressors. In the press, in daily conversation, wherever two or three are gathered together, there the indignant utterance finds vent. And trade, by unerring indications, attests the growing energy. Public credit in Missouri droops. The six per
cents of that State,
which at par should be one hundred and two, have sunk to eighty-four and one-fourth-thus at once completing the evidence of Crime, and attesting its punishment. Business is now turning from the Assassins and Thugs, that infest the Missouri River on the way to Kansas, to seek some safer avenue. And this, though not unimportant in itself, is typical of greater changes. The political credit of the men who uphold the Usurpation droops even more than the stocks; and the People are turning from all those through whom the Assassins and Thugs have derived their disgraceful immunity.
It was said of old, "Cursed be he that removeth his neighbor's Landmark. And all the people shall say, Amen."-(Deut. xxvii. 17.) Cursed, it is said, in the city, and in the field; cursed in basket and store; cursed when thou comest in, and cursed when thou goest out. These are terrible imprecations; but, if ever any Landmark were sacred, it was that by which an immense territory was guarded forever against Slavery; and if ever such imprecations could justly descend upon any one, they must descend now upon all who, not content with the removal of this sacred Landmark, have since, with criminal complicity, fostered the incursions of the great Wrong against which it was intended to guard. But I utter no imprecations.