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THE idea having been advanced in some of our most prominent political and religious journals, and also in various addresses made to the public by members belonging to both political parties," that no person out of the slave States had any thing to do with slavery;” that its abolition belongs solely to the States in which it exists; that we have nothing more to do with it than if these States were foreign nations, and that we violate the law of nations by meddling with it; * and that, if these States were not of our own household, the proceedings of the abolitionists would be a cause of war; and, further, (the doctrine is advanced by some) that slavery was by the Constitution guaranteed to the South, *—it is our purpose to con

* Democratic Address, delivered in Baltimore in 1838. Mr. Webster's Address, delivered in Richmond, October, 1840. Atherton's Resolutions, 1838. 2 Boston Quarterly Review, No. II. p. 242; also No. XIII. p. 95, * Boston Quarterly Review, No. II. p. 252. 4 Christian Examiner, Third Series, No. XIII. 1837, p. 84, &c.

sider these several subjects, and see how far they can be true, and if in truth it be possible we can arrive to any such alarming conclusions. While, we say, we will make the above inquiries, we will also see whether, on the contrary, while this system was found, like other evil practices that sometimes gain a foothold on the affections of a people, our fathers did not do as much as they thought in their power to put an end to the system, and leave it not only in the power of the government to destroy it, but absolutely, and in fact, by the system they adopted, they did not place it in the power of every individual, who should be maltreated or restrained in his liberty, to get redress of his grievances through the instrumentality of the courts; so that, if proper steps had been taken, no man need to have been retained in slavery since the adoption of the Constitution; in truth, that there is no legal or rightful

slavery in the United States, nor can there be, by

any powers either in the State or United States government; much less is there any constitutional power in the individual, to make a slave of any person whatever; that, unless for crimes committed against the laws of society, and which laws must have an equal bearing upon all, a man cannot be restrained in his life, liberty, or pursuit of happiness; and, consequently, all the laws made by the different States to secure man in slavery are null and void, and, if carried into execution, are in direct violation of the Constitution of our country. To say our fathers guaranteed slavery to the

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South, is advancing a doctrine so opposed to their professed attachment to liberty, and to the doc

trines advanced in the Declaration of Indepen

dence, and to the professed reasons which most of them gave for coming to this country, and would involve them in such a labyrinth of hypocrisy, that it seems as if no individual would be willing to make himself obnoxious to the charge, and that he would pause for a long time before he would admit such a doctrine, or would suffer it to gain publicity. To say our fathers — the persons who came over in the Mayflower, that Penn, that the Germans—all left their shores, either openly avowing, or, by their subsequent practice, showing, they came away to avoid the tyranny of their own countries, and came to this continent, to these shores, with the express purpose of here enjoying greater freedom than at home, and of establishing, in this then wilderness, the basis of freer institutions than they were living under in their own country, but, at the same time, beneath this fair exterior they were entertaining doctrines which, if carried out, (and they have been carried out,) would introduce a tyranny as much worse than any existing in the several lands from which they came as can be well conceived; or that our fathers, who took an active part in our revolutionary struggle, should have played the same game, should, while they were advancing the “selfevident truths,” “that all men were created equal,” that they “had an inalienable right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness,” and thereby touching that cord in every noble and generous mind, and which, if properly struck, will be sure to vibrate in union with the master hand, and which did call forth the treasures and assistance of a Lafayette, and caused a Kosciusko to bleed; that these men, who advanced and maintained these principles before the world, did it only that they might gain the world's assistance and its applause, while they had determined, within themselves, to violate every principle they professed, or only that they might be better able to impose on their brother man a tyranny equal in cruelty to any the world had ever witnessed, -is advancing a doctrine so abhorrent, we can scarce believe, had it not been asserted, it could have been entertained a moment. And yet what is it but saying all this, when we allow it to be understood, without any qualification, that our fathers, the moment it was in their power to frame laws to govern the country to which they had resorted, should, in contempt of all their previous professions, place upon a permanent footing, and that with malice prepense, a system of which they at least made a show, on account of its barbarity and the manner it was imposed upon them one cause of war? Such a judgment seems too contrary to all of our preconceived notions of their integrity, to be for a moment admitted; and, if there was any thing in their actions that would at all give countenance to such a construction of their conduct, some excuse ought to be found, some reason, either good or apparently so, which may have appeared, to their

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