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Shall. I hold another in slavery, when I myself would be free :
* BosTo N:
Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1841, B Y G. W. F. M. E L L E N, in the clerk's office of the District Court of Massachusetts.
IN presenting the public with the present volume, we are aware it involves some presumption, as we are not connected with the learned profession of the law; but none, either abler or otherwise, having undertaken the task, we have ventured to raise our sail, and, with what skill and favorable winds we could command, have endeavored to steer our bark into the desired haven. We are aware that Mr. Alvan Stewart, of New York, with his great mind, has preceded us in the discussion of the constitutional question of the rights of slaveholders; but he did not touch the point which we thought lay at the foundation of this most interesting question; we have therefore considered it in a somewhat different aspect. While he supposed, because the States had not by their laws established slavery, therefore it did not exist, we, on the contrary, would affirm, that, according to our Constitution, * is impossible either for congress or the States to establish it; that no man now is rightfully or legally held in bondage in this country; that the whole system is unconstitutional; and that it is in violation of its spirit and letter, and ought not to be upheld.
But, knowing such weighty authorities are at present opposed to us, we have had to be rather labored, and to extend our remarks and proofs to a greater length than might be desirable; but, as we have endeavored to give a connected history of the proceedings of various public bodies in relation to the question at issue, and have done it with all the impartiality of which we are capable, we hope our exertions will not prove unavailing to throw light upon a subject which now seems to be involved in much darkness and uncertainty, if we can judge from the contrariety of opinions we have heard both publicly and privately expressed. We are aware, also, we take a different stand from many distinguished abolitionists on this question, and that a good deal of sensitivemess has been manifested towards us on account of it; but, as the facts and arguments adduced in this work have fully satisfied ourself on this subject, it is hoped they may not fail to convince others, and that it will be finally admitted that not only the States, but the United States, and the various