Imágenes de páginas

ment or compact, either with each other or with a foreign power. They placed all controversy that might arise between the States or individuals in the hands of the National Judiciary. After these concessions there remained no semblance of sovereignty, but simply the right of independent self-government in local or domestic affairs. Sovereignty the States never achieved. The people won their independence by their wisdom, their energies and their valor, after seven long years of struggle against British power and aggression. The Declaration of Independence sets forth the reasons and purposes of that revolution that achieved and established the freedom of our country. Not once does it mention the States, but it does mention the people in their united and national character. "State Sovereignty,' State Supremacy,' 'State Rights,' and the cursed system of slavery, were ignored and repudiated by the consummate wisdom and goodness of the founders of this nation; and the latter by the enlightened voice of the world, as the crime of crimes against humanity.

“Permit me to ask you to listen to the voice of sages, Christians, patriots, statesmen, philosophers and philanthropists of this and other nations, concerning this hellbegotten wrong and outrage. Washington said it was his first wish to free America of the curse. Jefferson, the Apostle of Liberty, said he trembled for his country, and declared it was written in the Book of Fate, that the people should be free. Patrick Henry detested slavery with all the earnestness of his nature, and believed the time was not far distant when the lamentable evil would be abolished. Madison denied the right of property is man, and contended that the republican principle wa

[ocr errors]

antagonistic to human bondage. Monroe considered slavery as preying upon the very vitals of the Union. John Randolph detested the man who defended slavery. Thomas Randolph deprecated the workings of the evil. Thomas Jefferson Randolph classes the institution' among the abominations and enormities of savage tribes, and as tending to decrease free populations. Peyton Randolph lamented its existence. Edward Randolph, as member of the Convention that framed the Constitution of our nation, moved to strike out“ servitude,” and insert“ service,” because the former was thought to express the condition of slaves, and the latter the obligation of free persons. Henry Clay would never, never, never, by word or thought, by mind or will, aid in subjecting free territory to the everlasting curse of human bondage. The great Benton, in view of the peace and reputation of the white people—the peace of the landthe world's last hope for a free government on the carth, and because it was a wrong, condemned its extension and existence. Colonel Mason contended slavery discouraged the arts and manufactures, made labor disreputable, prevented immigration of whites, who enrich and strengthen a country, produced pernicious effects on manners, made the master a petty tyrant, and invited calamities to the nation. Governor McDowell says this people was born to be free, and their enslavement is in violation of the law of Deity. Judge Iredell, of North Carolina, would rejoice when the entire abolition of slavery took place. William Pinckney, of Maryland, considered it dishonorable and iniquitous. Thomas Marshall, of Virginia, said it was ruinous to the whites. Bolling said the time would come when this degraded and oppressed people would free themselves from their thraldom. Chandler calls it a cancer, and said it would produce commotion and bloody strife. Summers said the evils could not be enumerated. Preston said the slaves were men, and entitled to human rights. Birney, of Kentucky, said the slaveholder had not one atom of right to his slave, and that all peoples rejoice when they hear the oppressed are set free. McLane, of Delaware, said, I am an enemy of slavery. Luther Martin, of Maryland, said slavery is inconsistent with the genius of r'cpublicanism. An abolition society was formed in Virginia in 1791, in which slavery was denounced as not only an odious degradation, but an outrageous violation of one of the most essential rights of human nature, and utterly repugnant to the principles of the Gospel, and argued that all men are by nature equally free and independent. The heroic Marion said it reduced society to two classes -the rich and the very poor. Oglethorpe, the founder of Georgia, called it a horrid crime. Franklin called slavery an atrocious debasement of human nature. Hamilton said all men were, by nature, entitled to equal privileges. John Jay called it repugnant to every principle of justice and equity. William Jay contended the time had arrived when it was necessary to destroy slavery to save our own liberty. John Quincy Adams—the old man eloquent—said it perverted human reason and tainted the very sources of moral principle. Webster regarded it as a great moral and political evil, sustained by miglit against right, and in violation of the spirit of religion, justice and humanity. Noah Webster claimed freedom as the sacred right of every man.

De Witt Clinton says the despotisms and slavery of the world would long since have vanished, if the natural equality of mankin: had been understood and practiced. General Joseph Warren says personal freedom is the natural right oi every man. England, through her Mansfields, calls it odious; her Locke, so vile that a gentleman cannot plead for it; her Pitt, that it should not be permitted for a single hour; her Fox compares it to robbery and murder; her Shakspeare said that heaven will one day free us from this slavery ; her Cowpers and Miltons have, in immortal verse, execrated it; her Doctor Johnson says no man is, by nature, the property of another; her Doctor Price says, if you can enslave another, he can enslave you; her Blackstone tells us we must transgress unjust human laws, and obey the natural and divine; and her Coke, Hampden, Wilberforce, and many of her other learned and good men, endorsed this doctrine. Ireland's Burke said it ought not to be suffered to exist; her Curran demanded universal emancipation; her great O'Connell, speaking to his countrymen, said he would not recognize them, if they countenanced the horrors of American sla

Father Mathew said slavery is a sin against God and man, and called loudly on all true Irishmen to help to move on the Car of Freedom. Scotland's voice is as potent in condemnation of this stupendous crime. Her Beattie said it is opposed to virtue and industry, and should be viewed with horror; her Miller said every individual, whatever his country or complexion, is entitled to freedom. France, speaking through her La Fayette, the friend of Washington and Liberty, tells the world he would not have drawn his sword in the cause of America, if he could have conceived that thereby he was founding a land of slavery; his grandson said the abolition of slavery commanded his entire sympathy. Montesquieu said the earth shrank in barrenness from the contaminating sweat of a slave. Louis X, said the Christian religion and nature herself cried out against the state of slavery, and demanded the liberty of all men. Rousseau said slavery and right contradicted and excluded cach other. Brissot viewed it as a degradation of human nature. Schiller, Grotius, Goethe, Luther, Humboldt, and thousands of freedom loving Germans, have spoken deeply in condemnation of this monster iniquity. This noble people were the earliest to denounce the sin, and went so far as to declare the slave justifiable in the murder of his master who refused to let him go free. The gratest of Alexanders has declared, by a solemn ukase, the universal enfranchisement of his people, and sixty millions of human beings are thereby made freemen, to love God and the ways of justice and virtue. Cicero tells us all men are born free, and that law cannot make wrong right. Socrates calls slavery a system of outrage and robbery. Plato, that it is a system of the most complete injustice. The great Cyrus said that to fight, in order not to be made a slave, is noble. The churches of the world hold this sin as an abomination unto the Lord. The true interpretation of the Bible proclaims liberty throughout all the land, unto all the inhabitants thereof, and commands us to let the oppressed go free, to call no man master, neither to be called masters. Slavery is the black and loathsome sin that will not be forgiven in this world, nor the world to come. Thus the intelligent and great men of all nations denounce this foul system. The worldour own nation-all the States except atrocious South

« AnteriorContinuar »