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on this subject with a friend of mine, and remarked that he did not like these abolition petitions that the women signed-some affected, he said, to despise them; but he regarded them in a very different light. These women, sir, said he, have the education of the rising generation, and the youth of our country will be brought up from their cradles like Hannibal, to swear on their domestic altars, eternal hatred to Slavery.— (Great applause.)
But we concede too much, when we say we have no power to act. Look at the 26,000 slaves, in the District and Territories under the jurisdiction of Congress. Has the North nothing to do with them? Sir, we as a nation, hold these 26,000 slaves. We are responsible for their bondage, because they are held under the authority of laws made by our representatives. Perhaps, looking at the millions who are suffering under American tyranny, some may scor to notice these 26,000 slaves. But we regard it as a matter of no small moment, that our national metropolis is converted into a great slave mart, where men, and women, and children are sold like cattle.When we know that there are in the District of Columbia, grated prisons to store slaves, intended for the southern market,-principally young persons, groaning in these prisons, torn forever from their homes and the bosoms of their parents-and that all this is done under the laws of Congress, made by our representatives; that the public prisons of the District, which we, here in Massachusetts, help to pay for, are made the reception of human beings, destined for this cruel traffic; when we know that the slave trade between Washington and New-Orleans is carried on by a line of packet vessels, as regularly as the trade between New-York and Liverpool, the subject assumes a form in which we have a direct personal right and responsibility. Who is there who will pretend that we have no right to speak out on this subject? If our way is not right, what is right? We have become a party to these enormities, and we shall continue to be partakers of the guilt, unless we lift up our voices in the strongest remonstrances against them.
But, gentlemen say we use very intemperate language. When our lecturers are speaking on this subject, they speak out of full hearts. Their minds are brought daily in contact with the atrocities of the slave system. Would it be strange that they should use strong language? Will you, who are a Whig or a Democrat, abandon your party because some of its members use violent language? The fact is notorious, that political editors and political speech-makers are daily in the habit of using denunciation and abuse, which far transcends our vocabulary of invective, yet, who ever heard any one objecting to the principles of either of the political parties of the day, on this ground? O, but,' I am reminded, you are defeating your object by your violence.' I have always remarked that they who are most troubled lest we should defeat our object, are precisely the persons who wish with all their hearts to have it defeated. There may, however, be some good and conscientious men, who stand aloof from us, on this very ground. But, I ask, whether these same men deny all co-operation with the political parties of the day, on account of their violence? I have very seldom heard of such persons. I ask, whether, in carrying forward any great object, we are to wait till we can get men as agents to carry it on, who are infallible? We seek men of the right stamp-we look for honest men-men of principle and we trust that, out of good and honest hearts, there will not come much wrong. But if we are to wait till we get perfect agents, we must leave slavery to work its own cure, in rivers of blood.
But, you exasperate.' And what does that prove? Does it follow tha a man is exasperated, no good is done? When cool reflection returns, the truth will
reach the conscience. Nothing exasperates an uneasy conscience so much as truth. Can any one tell me when the South will feel any less exasperated at the discussion of slavery than now?
But, again, you increase the sufferings of the slaves.' Here is a worse libel on the slave-master than any thing the abolitionists have ever said. Are slaveholders indeed such an inhuman, brutal set of men, that they will wreak their vengeance for the misdeeds of the abolitionists upon the poor defenceless slaves? Abolitionists have not said any thing like this. I will not, I do not believe this aspersion. I have made many anxious inquiries of slaveholders and others, who have been at the south; and so far as I can learn, the fact is, that the slaves are better treated than formerly, and for this reason: The masters know that, if they abuse their slaves, it will some how or other get to the ears of the abolitionists, and will be a swift witness against them. I know that the more respectable slaveholders have kept the violent in check, by this consideration. But, I call upon those who object so much to the language of aboli. tionists, to answer this question to their own hearts: Is it our words, or our principles, which offend you? I fear that many who object to our phraseology, are those who are reluctant to have the real character of slavery brought to light. I am sure the objection often comes too, from men, well-meaning perhaps, but men who have no realizing conception of what slavery is; who do not make the case of the slave their own; whose sympathy is very cool for their black fellow-man. Our ardor seems unreasonable to such men, and if we speak half the truth of that system of tyranny and pollution which disgraces our land, they think our language harsh and exaggerated. But why are they not as sensitive on other subjects? Simply because their hearts are in these, on one side or the other. I read abuse in political papers, far exceeding any thing said or written by abolitionists; yet no sensation is created-no excitement—no mobs, on account of the violent language of political partizans. No; it is our principles, more than our words, that form the real stumbling blocks. Will not something be pardoned, in free Massachusetts, to the spirit of liberty?
'But, why don't you use mild language? Is it the way to persuade men, to call hard names?' Persuasion is not at all times our first object. When we wish to persuade, we employ the gentle pen of Angelina Grimke. But, if we wish to rouse the North, and this we avow to be our first object,—we speak in a harsher key. We mean to hold up slavery in all its loathsomeness-we mean to make it base and odious-to make every man, woman and child in New-England feel that it is so. For this purpose, our language must be sometimes rough hewn—we can't use fine instru
'But, what is your plan?' says one, give us your plan.' Yes, our enemies would be very glad to get us into the warfare of details and local measures. We might contend about these for a century, and nobody would be the wiser or the freer ;-the master would sit secure in the enjoyment of his wealth in human bones and sinews. We say to the slaveholders: we give you our general plan, which is to do justly, and love mercy.' We leave all the rest to you; if you think our advice dangerous, appoint your special constables, commission your stipendiary magistrates, arrange the details to suit yourselves, for you best know your own needs; but do the thing-have it somehow or other done, and done at once. Where there is a will, there is a way.— Ah, but this is all visionary-extreme-impracticable.' So far from it, that any man who will devote half an hour to reading documentary evidence, may satisfy himself that it is not only practicable, but the only practicable mode of emancipation. Its practicability and safety have been abundantly proved by experience, in all parts of
the world, and under the most diverse circumstances. Gradual measures, the necessity of preparation for the slave, projects of melioration-all these are delusive pretexts for perpetuating this unrighteous and oppressive system. Those great men, who assisted in the formation of the Constitution, Dr. Rush, John Jay, and Franklin, went home from that work, and formed societies for the abolition of slavery, not, be it remarked, for its abolition in their own State only, but throughout the country. But, as they adopted the principle of gradual emancipation, they effected comparatively little. So long as you acknowledge the master's right to hold his fellow beings as property for the present, he is not very solicitous for the future. You may say as much as you please about the duty of emancipation at some future time. It does not touch his con. science or his pocket. The societies which were formed by those venerable men, were little felt or noticed, because they rested upon no deep and vital principle. But the adoption by the anti-slavery societies of the present day, of the principle of immediate emancipation, has thrown the whole South into a ferment.
But, Mr. President, suppose it to be admitted that abolitionists may sometimes lose temper, and sometimes lack taste; that their views and measures are not uniformly marked with judgment and good sense; these circumstances should constitute a stronger call on those who deem themselves more judicious and temperate, to come into the ranks of men whose general object they cannot but approve, and who may be benefitted by their counsels. The current objections to the abolitionists as a party, can have little weight in determining the course of any reflecting man. I would ask such a one to look at what the abolitionists have done and are doing. I ask him to look at eight hundred Anti-Slavery Societies formed in five years; to consider that we have seventy lecturing agents in the field; that Congress is now shaken by almost weekly conflicts connected with our efforts; that the Texas question is lowering ominously on our borders, and may, at any time, convert the whole country in three weeks into two well defined parties, pro-slavery and anti-slavery; that every city and village in the whole nation is more and more stirred up on the slavery question. I would ask, do you believe all this excitement is to subside? Or do you not rather see that the great issue is made up in our land, between Slavery and Freedom-and that one or the other must fall? Very soon your side must be taken, be your fears or your scruples what they may. Massachusetts, and the other free States, will soon be compelled by the force of circumstances-or rather by that Providence who shapes our ends-to occupy their true position. Is there a death-struggle to go on in this land, between Liberty aud Slavery, and does any man doubt on which side Massachusetts will be arrayed? It is idle to question it. The moral contest which is growing warmer and warmer, must sooner or later be substantially a sectional one. No man in this part of the Union can long be neutral in this contest. And, thank God, the true spirit is rising; not so much in the cities indeed! Our progress is comparatively little known there, --but before long a voice will be heard from the country that will startle our sleepers. In the words of a distinguished journalist, the nation has been winnowed to furnish men of the most unquenchable enthusiasm and the most obstinate constancy, to carry forward the cause. Violence merely serves to exalt and inflame the ardor with which they pursue their object. Those who administer it are merely chafing the ears of the bull-dog who has fastened upon his prey.' Under God, and iu the truth, we feel that we are invincible.
I move, Sir, the adoption of the resolution.
On motion of Rev. Mr. ST CLAIR of West Boylston :
Resolved, That the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society tender to this House of Representatives, for the use of their Hall this evening, their hearty and sincere thanks.
Thursday, 9 o'clock, A. M., ISAAC WINSLOW, Esq. in the Chair.
Rev. Mr. NORRIS of Bradford, offered the following resolution :
Resolved, That while the cause of Abolition preserves the most unbroken harmony throughout the ranks of its numerous friends, it promises the only safe remedy to slavery, and produces insurrections only among slaveholders at the South, and the enemies of liberty every where.
Mr. N. said, It is consoling to my mind, that in the midst of commotion in the religious world, the abolition community has always been united. One sentiment pervades this brotherhood, that of benevolence and sympathy. We are not made up of ambitious political jugglers and smugglers-but abolition originated with the best friends of God and the purest spirits in the land. Hence their union. We are not distinguished as a political party. Our distinction is, that we plead the cause of God and of humanity throughout the world. Having commenced on this principle, we have a right to expect permanence and success. Our society will stand and will triumph. Onward shall be its course until it has done its work, and raised every man to his privileged level with his kind, and to the privilege of knowing and serving God.
The resolution says that abolition promises the sovereign and only safe remedy for slavery. Others speak of another remedy-and they are the enemies of abolition— they speak of a general insurrection of the slaves, and say this is the natural and inevitable result. They tell us to stand aloof, and let God take this work into his own hand- why should we interfere to stay the thunderbolts of heaven?' We are guilty indeed, and deserve God's vengeance, but let us remember that God delights more in mercy than in vengeance. May we not believe that in his Providence, he has deposited abolition as a leaven in our land, destined to work until the whole country is leavened? I believe our nation will yet be saved by abolition, and that God will not suffer us to plunge into insurrection.
It promises a sovereign remedy. Men talk of Mason's and Dixon's line, as if beyond that we could not reach with abolition. Why, as well pen up the wind. With these principles we have a fair field. We can send out truth, and no enactments can keep it out of minds-we can scatter light, and no legislative barriers can quench its rays-and more, the Holy Spirit is our helper to work upon the consciences of the guilty, and bring them to the embrace of the truth. It is the adoption of these principles which renders us invincible.
So far as abolition is embraced, it is peaceful and safe-it is resistance that makes insurrection. Temperance, wherever it prevails, brings happiness and peace, but where resisted or neglected, misery and vice prevail. Adopt abolition, and we shall be safe, except when the spirit of slavery rises in resistance. It is this, universally, that has made insurrection. I have had some observation and experience to prove the truth of what I say. I had the honor of being a member of the last General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. I attended a prayer meeting for the slaves, and for praying and speaking a few words in that meeting, I was censured by the tremendous vote of that venerable body. But I am happy to say, that fourteen members stood firm in anti-slavery principles; and I think the leaven is at work which will ever in future prevent a similar attempt in that body to suppress freedom of speech. That was an insurrection of the whole General Conference. In like manner have insurrections been excited; in Nashville, when Dresser was lynched for being an aboli
tionist; in Boston, in New-York, in Canterbury and Canaan. (Applause.) Let abolition prevail, and peace will prevail.
Seconded by Rev. Mr. ROOT of Dover, who spoke as follows: Mr. President: It is asserted in the Resolution, that this enterprise promises the only effectual remedy for slavery.' I am one, Sir, who believe we can do something, and that we have a right to do it, for the relief of the slave. It is continually said, 'Your efforts can do no good, you are rivetting the slave's chains, you are driving the master to madness.' Sir, who are they with whom we have to do? Whom would we persuade to do righteousness, to unbind the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free? Fellow citizens. With these can we have no influence? I will not believe we cannot. It is a slander upon our southern brethren to say they are impervious to argument, and insensible to persuasions of justice and mercy. No class is more sensitive and chivalrous-none more alive to reputation. Gen. Duff Green says so. Gov. McDuffie says so. They feel that the reputation of the whole south is in jeopardy. They complain that we are holding them up to execration. This, Mr. President, is what we are doing. It is not in vain to address the south. Though they cry out against our interference, yet it is because they feel that they are about to be exposed-this we can continue to do this we will do, till they QUIT STEALING. (Applause.) They are not immoveable. The time will come, when they will give ear to our appeals for justice and mercy, and honor too. We have divine truth on our side, and it is injustice to God to suppose that his truth will not have effect. Only agitate, and agitate, and illustrate and press, and the work will be accomplished.
But it is said, and that not long since-They have a right to their slaves.'— Monstrous! They have no right. Strange that at this day and in this part of the country such a claim should be set up. How easy to disprove their 'right.' I appeal to the sense of justice in every breast. Look at the case. Suppose a few white citizens are captured by Algerines. Do you say they have a right to their plunder? A few years ago, when the Algerines captured a few of our fellow citizens, the news of the outrage electrified the land, a thousand voices spoke for justice, vessels were fitted out, and the public mind would not rest till our fellow citizens were rescued from their barbarous bondage. How fearfully inconsistent, now, should we allow 2,000,000 of our fellow men to be kept bound for years; and the number kept good for generations. The cases are parallel. No matter how many links connect the slave with his ancestors, rightfully free in their native Africa; no matter how long laws have legalized their bondage; they were born free, and no equal man can take away their birthright. Free they were originally, and no circumstances can change the nature of things.
How easy to disprove this claim from the Declaration of Independence. All men are born equal.' Whence then the right of one to usurp tyranny over another?
We disprove it too from the Bible. Thou shalt not steal,' He that stealeth a man shall be put to death.' The slaves can say as Joseph did, 'For indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews.' But if the Bible warrants slavery, then why not give them the Bible? Ah, they dare not. It teaches nothing like the right to hold men in involuntary bondage, nor as property. No, there is nothing can give a right but a bill of sale from the Almighty.'
I know something of slavery, I have seen it. But I would not rail against my brethren. I have experienced great hospitality. The southern people are a noble and generous race, and their good traits too frequently cover the odiousness of their slave system from the eyes of northern men. It is not uncommon for gentlemen from the North to make the tour of the whole South, and absolutely never to see slavery as