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by forbidding the master to emancipate his bondman without the consent of the legislature, and the legislature without the consent of the master. Emboldened, but not satisfied, with their success in every political contest with the people of the free States, the slaveholders are beginning to throw off their disguise; to brand their former notions about the “evil, political and moral,” of slavery as ‘folly and delusion;''1 and, as if to “make assurance doubly sure,” and to defend themselves for- ever, by territorial power, against the progress of free principles and the renovation of the Constitution, they now demand openly—scorning to conceal that their object is to advance and establish their political power in the country—that Texas, a foreign state, five or six times as large as all New England, with a Constitution dyed as deep in slavery as that of Arkansas, shall be added to the Union.” Thus we have given Mr. Birney's views of the manner slavery has advanced in the country, because we think they are plain, explicit, and to the point, and show how slavery has advanced by successive steps from being considered the worst of evils to that of the greatest good; and, by showing this, we shall be able more clearly to perceive why our fathers did not in any manner guarantee, or even countenance, slavery, by any of their public acts; but, on the contrary, as we shall attempt to prove, so far as they did go, their acts went to break up the whole system, or provide for its being so broken up; and, in fact, if advantage had been taken of their words by our colored popula
John C. Calhoun, in the senate of the United States, made use of this expression,
tion, slavery would have ceased to have existed at the time of the declaration of our independence; and we think it can now be sufficiently shown the system has never been by law established, but that ways have been provided for its final extirpation. Such being the case, nothing but the supineness of those, both white and colored, who were and are interested, has perpetuated it in our land. In order to substantiate these assertions, it may be thought proper and necessary, since so much has been said and admitted to the contrary, to show on what they are founded, and how such a position can be maintained; and, in order so to do, it may be necessary to go back in our history, to ascertain what were the principles not only of the men who framed the instruments to which reference has been made, but also of their predecessors. Having the biography of so many of the men who first came to this country, belonging to our own race, as well as the history of the time of their first landing to the time spoken of, we can perhaps come to a just conclusion. It would hardly be necessary to assert all of our fathers had a clear conception of the value of, or even desired, universal liberty, -that they were all . pure, honest, and true men; consequently we will not, however much we might wish, and we shall not, attempt to maintain such a proposition; or that men did not come to this country with the avowed purpose and express desire, not only of making money in the ordinary modes of traffic, but that many came for the very purpose of trafficking in
slaves, and of accumulating property through their agency; and that this object and design was kept in view, either among themselves or their descendants, from the time of the first introduction of slavery till the adoption of the Constitution; and that their influence was felt through these successive periods, and manifested itself in the acts of the men who promulgated the Declaration of Independence, who formed the confederation, and, finally, of those who adopted the Constitution. We have seen how that influence has been extended from that time to this, and that by false arguments and false reasonings they have produced the results we now witness. But that the great body of the people who came to this country, either before the declaration of independence or since, or of those who took a part in the proceedings of the revolution, were men who favored slavery, we think cannot for a moment be admitted. Perhaps it may not be necessary to quote from the principal men of that day, or to go into a long and labored argument to show that they were on the side of freedom, because it would seem like arguing a point that every one admitted, and that it was too plain and palpable on the face of our history to be denied; and perhaps it may be said it is not denied; but yet, when respectable journals, and men in high authority, say our revolutionary fathers guaranteed slavery to the South, or left it in such a manner, that, while each and all of the different States were bound to suppress, or help suppress, an insurrection that might occur among the slaves, they put it out of their power to say or do any thing against its continuance, or left no way by which it could be brought to an end by the courts, we cannot conceive it in any other light than the admission that, while the men of that day made the strongest professions in favor of liberty, they were, at the same time, preparing the country for the vilest system of bondage; in other words, making them the greatest of hypocrites, – a character we do not think they deserve. It is certainly evident our Pilgrim fathers, with the advice of Robinson, came here to enjoy their civil and religious privileges, and that they did introduce into their government these great principles. Although, in the course of time, many of these principles may have been disregarded, as in the persecution of Roger Williams and the Quakers, and in some of their number holding slaves, yet, after proper discussion, and seeing the bearing to which their actions tended, they gave up the contest; and the apparent result of every trial of this kind fixed deeper, broader, and stronger, in the minds of our fathers the love of liberty; so that no persecution of the same kind has ever taken place a second time. However much individuals might have wished a different order of things, or however much they may have been mistaken in any of their works, no sooner was the result of their actions understood by the general mass, that the great doctrine of general or individual liberty was endangered, than they at once rallied with all their powers of opposition, and caused the obnoxious measures to cease. The refusing of civil privileges, excepting to church members, was one of these laws; but, as soon as it was found to interfere with individual liberty, it was done away. Penn, with his followers, certainly entertained the same notions, and came here for a similar purpose.
The German population, also, that settled in New York and Pennsylvania, entertained, in a greater or less degree, the same idea: this we think is evident in the attachment which the German population in the State of Pennsylvania still manifest towards what is called the republican party in the United States. Wherever and whenever they become convinced that one party, rather than the other, embodies the republican principle, there they are sure to side; and, in fact, it is appealing to this principle alone, and convincing them that the persons who would obtain office will maintain their sentiments, that any have the most distant hope of success."
Mr. Haynes, in a speech made in the senate of the United States, January 21, 1836, said:
“The people whom I represent are the descendants of those who brought with them to this country, as the most precious of their possessions, an ardent love of liberty; and, while that shall be preserved, they will
* The result of the past election, we cannot but think, was in part caused by appealing to this very principle.