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this system. Their immediate representatives lay these taxes.” 1
We would wish our readers to take notice of the remarks of Mr. Iredell, of North Carolina, and those of Mr. Spraight, and McDowall: in these we probably have the sentiments of most of the American people. How different at the present day, when our republican presidents, representatives, and reviewers, would endeavor to make us believe that all America had made it a point to guarantee this abomination to the South, when, according to truth, it was directly the other way ! Nothing but the absolute necessity, according to this account of the sayings and doings of the people of even North Carolina, of forming a union, that the foreign slave-trade was permitted to continue for twenty years, and that against the will and wishes of all portions of the Union, saving South Carolina and Georgia. And, without doubt, it is to those two States that we, at the present day, are indebted for the continuance of the slave system ; and these observations show how much we have to fear if it is much longer continued, and how fast it is gaining an ascendency over, and influencing the mind of this people. When we look back and see how openly slavery was denounced throughout the the original States, and how heartfelt was the grief manifested that it should be tolerated even for a moment, and that among slaveholders themselves, we are astonished such a change has already taken place.
* Elliot's Reports, vol. iii. p. 88.
Now men from all parts of the country are lifting up their voices in its favor; they would make the discussing of the subject actionable at common law, a fit subject to cause an open war, if the ' different States were independent nations, and an almost universal sanctioning of lynchings, insults, and contumely, if even discussions or conversation on the subject are to be allowed. If such a radical change as this has taken place when but about fifty years have passed over our nation, what must be expected should it be continued an hundred years longer, and that, if any one should then speak in derogation of what has most strangely been called the key-stone of the arch of our republic, he should be “hung without benefit of clergy 2" Is there no danger it will be so We now appeal to those who think there is no danger to be apprehended to our republican institutions, to our liberty, if this institution remains untouched. If it is not abolished by the strong arm of the law, or by our courts, or by the voluntary good sense or a sense of justice in every individual, may not the gag that has been so freely applied in congress eventually be made to apply to every person throughout our country If there is danger that such may be the result, we hope the lullaby song of doctors of divinity, or a perverted priesthood, will not cause this community to slumber. The watchword of liberty is, be vigilant, be brave. Give neither “sleep to the eyes, nor slumber to the eyelids,” till each one has done something to satisfy those around him that
they will not admit this enemy of peace to their embrace; that they will esteem- it a scorpion ; a viper, whose fangs are deadly, and whose breath is pollution. We hope and trust, as we have before remarked, that there are some of the descendants of such men, who, when the battle becomes fiercer, and their aid is required, will not be backward in showing their true colors. We know there are some, and we hope their numbers will be much greater than we can even anticipate, who have not bowed down to this golden calf, and who have not been deceived by the false show that it exhibits to a superficial observer. But, while we would rejoice at the stand made by some individuals at the South, let us not forget that, while they expressed themselves horrified at slavery in the abstract, yet they hugged with extreme pertinacity to the slaves they then held. How to get rid of them, how to lose their property, which they thought they held in slaves, they knew not ; or shall we be less charitable, and set it down to their perversity, and say that all the arts and contrivances of which they were capable were put into requisition to secure to themselves the labor of the slave, while they would exhibit to the world a face on which no spot or wrinkle could be found 2 South Carolina and Georgia wanted laborers: the white man could not work in their fields; and the people of that day could think of no way, by kind treatment, to induce the colored man to come to our shores; and, forsooth, they must permit his forcible introduction, and by all the arts in their power attempt to cover up their meaning, so that it would require deep study to know what was meant by their acts. When men attempt to do wrong, how hard it is to be plain of speech But was this so It might have been with some ; no doubt it was ; and, by their persevering endeavors, they undoubtedly made the Constitution speak a different language than it would have done had the majority been able to have spoken as they wished. The subject in the Confederacy was manifestly out of the control of the people generally; in the Constitution, it was brought within the control of the people of the United States; and, being so, it was made a subject of congratulation, and they rejoiced they could point to a time when they thought slavery would be at an end; but, in the mean time, they seemed to be willing nothing should be done by the general government to disturb the relation of master and slave. They looked to the abrogation of the African slave-trade to put an end to slavery, as is shown by the observations of these gentlemen. But when we find the stopping of the foreign slavetrade has had no influence to destroy this system, but that it is more firmly fixed upon the country, what should be the course we should now pursue, if we mean to make this land a land of liberty 2 Evidently to take such steps, consistently with right, as will put a stop to its longer continuance; and the powers of the government, if the States will not do it when asked, should be put to the
utmost stretch effectively to secure to every individual his individual rights. This and this only can heal the wounds, so far as our government is concerned, that have been inflicted upon our land, and restore the Constitution to its true and legitimate meaning, and harmony to the different portions of our country. But Mr. Iredell says expressly that the power of congress does not extend to the freeing the slaves then in the country; and perhaps there was then no specific power by which it could be done, excepting under the phrase “the general welfare; ” but it must be remembered that amendments were made to that Constitution, which, if the language was not sufficiently plain in the original, the amendments made to it has effectually, and in as distinct language as could be used in such an instrument, secured to every individual his rights. The reason for bringing forward these amendments, or at least some of them, was well understood; and it was well known they meant to apply to the slave, if not by one portion of the country it was by the other; and all the amendments proposed were made to conform, as Mr. Madison expressed it, to one principle, that was of liberty: it would not answer to have “two opposing principles '' in the same inStrument. It is to be remarked, how singular is the idea advanced by Mr. Galloway, and which we often hear expressed at this day: “If we set our slaves free, what shall we do with them : " and “we cannot live with them, if free ; ” as if the slave