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tial renunciation to what she has constantly shown in times past to be her fixed determination.
She might have not unreasonably supposed her words to be the language of an accommodating policy, dictated by present necessity. Seeing she was unable to accomplish her end, she showed herself ready to give up a part of her pretensions in order to secure what she could at present, with the view of returning to her ways, and attempting to carry out the rest as soon as any favorable opportunity of success offered, and she had in her own hands the power of realizing her purpose.
Guarantees have been spoken of, by which the South might feel secure in the peaceful enjoyment of her rights for the future. I know not whether she does really wish for these guarantees, or would acquiesce in them, if given; but I fear the North did then, as she now does, find herself in just the same position towards the South in which Sparta was towards Athens at the time when, a treaty having been agreed to between them, and nothing else being wanting to conclude it but securities to be given by her for its observance, Iphicrates said to the Spartans: "The Atheni ans are resolved not to accept from you any other security, but your yielding up those things into their hands by which it might be manifest that you could not hurt them even if you would."
The South, however, is not satisfied with the terms proposed by the North, as above set down, although she had no cause of mistrust, but could fully rely upon their being strictly observed. She contends her citizens have as good a right to go into the territory and settle there with their property, including slaves, as may the citizens from any other State in the Union,-which property, and its free use, she affirms the Federal government is bound to protect and guarantee to them in the same manner as it is bound to do in their original States respectively. And this right of her citizens she claims and asserts by the Constitution.
This, and no other, is therefore the question, the imme
diate cause of secession. Does the South pretend that the territory, or future State, where her citizens might settle, must become what is called an exclusively Slave State, with a Slave code, as if other citizens who have not, nor intend to have, any slaves, should be forbid to enter its borders, to acquire and cultivate its soil with free labor, or be any way annoyed and forced to depart? If she pretends this, "in hoc non laudo." That same right which she claims for her citizens, does certainly belong to the citizens of the North,-namely, to settle in the territory, and there attend to their own business, employing such means as they deem best for themselves: but I do not believe she has any such pretensions.
The point in controversy being thus defined, it remains to be seen whether the Constitution resolves it in favor of the North or of the South; for there can be no doubt but that the question must be decided by the Constitution, and by nothing else.
It is not strange, because it is common, but it is certainly curious to hear politicians denounce Slavery as unchristian, and preach Abolitionism from a platform or in a newspaper; and it is yet more curious, to say no worse, to hear preachers, that should be of the gospel, condemn Slavery and announce Abolitionism from the pulpit, and recommend the use of Sharp's rifles as the best, the only argument able to convince the slaveholder! Sharp's rifles have been used, but the slaveholder is not convinced. He even seems to maintain his position more firmly than ever. Both those people, however, wander from their texts; nay, they forget that the Government of these United States is "no religion" government. It was established, not on religious, but only on political principles; not for the purpose of having a Christian community, but to the end of securing to her members and citizens the enjoyment of their political rights,—namely, of independence and sovereign power in the States,-except what they delegated to the federal representation,—and of personal freedom, life, and property, in the individuals.
That these are the principles, the motives, the end of the Federal government, I need not prove; they being distinctly set down and embodied in the Declaration of Independence, in the Articles of Confederation, in the Constitution. They are both its foundation and structure; its essence as well as its form in all its features and details. And as they were the creating spirit which gave existence to these three documents,-witness their whole tenor, and every single word contained in them,—so must they be the animating spirit which pervades through the whole machine, and every single part of the government which they brought into life, and inform all its actions and movements throughout its duration.
Nowhere in those instruments is Religion mentioned, but to exclude her from having any part in the government, thus showing how scrupulously its founders regarded and maintained universal liberty concerning her. It is enough to recite the words prefixed to the Constitution to declare its reasons and object: "We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." To what confederation of heathen governments could not this same preamble have been prefixed,all its words having precisely the same meaning which we attach to them? Suppose any of the States became now deranged in Religion, and turned Pagan! Could this be a reason why she should no longer form part of the Union, and her members be accounted citizens of the United States? Certainly not, by the Articles of Confederation, nor by the Constitution.
It were indeed to be wished that Slavery did not exist, not only among Christians, but anywhere in the world, as it were to be wished that war did not exist. For if we look back, and trace things to their beginnings,—whatever
Aristotle or others might say about mankind's being naturally so made that the ones are born to command and be served, the others to obey and serve (for they have sometimes exchanged places, whereas nature cannot be controlled),—we see that Injury begat War, and War begat Slavery. Unjust desire of Gain came afterwards to help War, and Avarice has made perhaps more slaves than War itself. She regards it as matter of business, and, having reduced it into a regular trade, overruns both seas and lands by her emissaries, whose mission it is to catch or buy men as cheaply as possible, and sell them again at greater prices wherever there is a demand for them.
But, as to Christianity, is Slavery indeed unchristian? In other words, cannot one be a Christian who keeps slaves, while and because he keeps them? For, this is the test of Christianity, to forbid a thing while it is doing, because of its doing, on its own account,-namely, because of its intrinsic criminality; as lying, stealing, any other moral evil. If it became me to speak of Christianity to anybody, and more especially to those who profess to preach the gospel, I would have no hesitation to say that Slavery is not unchristian, because both he who is a slave, and he who keeps and actually uses him as such, may yet be Christians, and very good ones too. A Christian will not make a free man a slave, but he may have a slave where there are slaves.
In 1850, a memorial was presented to the House of Representatives, where its reception was finally voted down, in which several inhabitants of Pennsylvania and Delaware pray "for the immediate and peaceful dissolution of the American Union," because they "believe that the Federal Constitution, in pledging the strength of the whole nation to support Slavery, violates the Divine law;" and in 1852, the delegates of the Free Democracy, assembled in national convention, while enumerating their principles and measures, say "that Christianity demands the abolition of Slavery;" and yet, not only is there nothing in the Old Testament nor in the New which condemns Slavery as criminal,
and forbids it, but one may wonder that these gospel preachers have not read, or have forgot, what the Apostle says concerning it. Unless they intend to preach a gospel different from that which the Apostles preached, or think themselves more Christian than St. Paul was, they must confess that Slavery is not unchristian; since this Apostle acknowledges it as actually existing among the Faithful, but says not a word to forbid or abolish it.
Far from this, he gives rules to both master and slave how to perform their reciprocal duties, and well acquit themselves of those obligations which bind them towards each other. To the slave he prescribes good will, obedience, patience, fidelity to his master; to the master he prescribes justice, kindness, forbearance, good treatment to his slave. If either of them acts contrary to his duty, the worse for him. The Apostle assures them both that of all their doings they shall give a strict account to a Judge who is their common Master, and with whom there is no respect of person.
He does not say to the slaves, "Your condition is unnatural and unjust; it is against Christianity; you should be free;" nor does he say to the masters, "You must make your slaves freemen, if you wish to live according to the Christian law, and get saved." Yet this he should have said, and certainly he would have said it, if Slavery were not consistent with Christianity.
St. Paul's words to both master and slave are in his letter to the Ephesians, chap. vi. 5-9. He repeats them to the Colossians, chap. iii. 22-25, and chap. iv. 1; and the same thing he enjoins his disciple Titus, Bishop of Crete, to teach the Christians under his charge. But, not to mention other passages of the like import in his writings wherever he touches on that subject, St. Peter also teaches the same doctrine to the Faithful in his letters.
Nor can the Apostle be understood to speak, not of slaves properly so called, but only of servants in the general acceptation of the word, as if he alluded to the relations