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This action on the part of the Legislature, though much better than nothing, lacked the only declaration for which the friends of Annexation would have cared,- that Massachusetts would regard the consummation of the act as a dissolution of the Union, and would treat it, in very deed, as if not binding and of no effect. Messrs. Adams, Wilson and BORDEN, of the Senate, deserve the highest honor for the courage and consistency with which they opposed this act of treason to freedom and humanity.
Nor were protestations against its accomplishment confined to the Halls of Legislation. In pursuance to a call signed by many of the most prominent citizens of the State, for intelligence, moral weight and political eminence, of all parties, a convention of delegates from all parts of the Commonwealth, representing the opposition to Annexation, assembled in Faneuil Hall, on the 29th of January, and continued its session into the following day. The Hall was filled with an assembly of earnest and thoughtful men, who were of one mind as to the iniquity of Annexation, widely as they differed in many other points of opinion and practice. The discussions were marked by great freedom and ability, and attracted large crowds to listen to them. Among the more prominent of the speakers we may mention, though necessarily omitting many names deserving of mention, the Hon. STEPHEN C. Phillips, the Hon. CHARLES ALLEN, Mr. GEORGE S. HILLARD, Mr. GARRISON, President ALLEN, the Rev. CALEB STETSON, and the Rev. Samuel J. May. The principal business done by the Convention was the adoption of an Address, said to have been dictated, in part, by the foremost of the public men of Massachusetts. It was well worthy of the highest powers. The Anti-Slavery argument against Annexation was most forcibly presented in it, and the duty of Massachusetts to take the lead in the opposition, strongly set forth. Its weak point, and consequently, that of the doings of the Convention, lay in its containing merely an argument and a protest against the
crime, but without indicating any course of conduct to be pursued by Massachusetts, in case it should be finally committed. After adopting the address by a unanimous vote, the Convention adjourned, leaving further action in the hands of a Committee of Correspondence, whose doings have not as yet been made public.
Though this Convention was not attended by all the good results which might have followed a more vigorous line of action, still it was highly honorable to the gentlemen who were mainly instrumental in calling it, and truly encouraging in the signs it made manifest of an increasing sense of the general share of the whole people in the guilt and the punishment of slavery. Though it was summoned and attended by members of all parties, still its most numerous and active friends belonged to the Whig party, and they were rewarded for their efforts by the coldness and the opposition of many of their political friends. The extent to which, not only the rank and file, but prominent men, of the Whig party, showed themselves unwilling to hold their peace, in obedience to the wishes and the example of its leaders, when their sense of duty bade them speak, on this subject, was an encouraging sign of the times in the midst of evil days and evil tongues. These remarks are, of course, even more true of the members of the Democratic party who took part in, or sympathized with, the Convention.
The same disposition on the part of a certain portion of the influential members of the Whig party to check any agitation in the general mind, on the subject of Texas, has been evinced at a later period. The Spring and Summer wore away without any concentrated action of the enemies of Annexation. In consequence of a proposition made at the celebration of West India Emancipation, at Waltham, on the first of August, one of the simultaneous meetings called by this Board, Mr. William H. CHANNING, a member of the Executive Committee of the American Anti-Slavery Society,
proposed that a committee should be appointed to call a County Convention on the subject of Annexation. This Committee issued a call, which was signed by many prominent men of all parties, in the County of Middlesex, for a Convention to be held at Concord. Accordingly this meeting was held, in September, and was one of deep interest. This Convention met, by adjournment, again at Cambridge on the 21st day of October. An animated meeting was there held; and, as the call of the Convention was exclusively addressed to the citizens of Middlesex County, and as it seemed to be a good opportunity for instituting a more general scheme of opposition, a meeting was held of citizens who were present from various other parts of the State, at an interval of the Convention, of which Ellis Gray LORING, of Boston, was Chairman, and EDMUND QUINCY, of Dedham, Secretary, which appointed a numerous State Committee to assume the duty of rallying the people to the rescue, if it might be done. This Committee, of which the Hon. CHARLES F. Adams was Chairman, entered upon their duties with zeal, and devoted themselves to their performance with a spirit and industry that did them the highest honor. They issued an address to the people; they entered into correspondence with the opposers of Annexation throughout the State ; they sent forms of remonstrance against the admission of Texas, as a Slave State, not only to every part of this State, but to every county in the Free States; they published a weekly paper devoted to the cause ; they held public meetings in the Metropolis, and in many other towns, to excite the general mind on the subject, and many of its members were untiring in their personal exertions to promote the same wholesome agitation. A public meeting was held in Faneuil Hall, on the 4th of November, which was well attended, upon a most tempestuous evening, and addressed by Messrs. ADAMS, PALFREY, CHARLES SUMNER, WENDELL PHILLIPS, GARRISON, WILLIAM H. CHANNING Stanton and HILLARD. Meetings were subsequently held in
Lowell, Brookline, Dedham, Hingham, Roxbury and many other places. Mr. CHARLES F. Adams, Mr. John G. PALFREY, Mr. William I. Bowditch, Mr. William H. CHANNING, and other gentlemen, did good service in addressing these assemblies. The Hon. STEPHEN C. Phillips delivered two addresses on the subject, in the Tremont Temple, which exposed in a masterly manner the iniquity of the Texas Scheme, and which have since been published and widely read.
During these efforts on the part of the Committee, they received but little sympathy or assistance from the chief men of the party which had made hostility to Texas one of their watchwords in the late Presidential campaign. Some of the more prominent among them even refused to sign a remonstrance against the admission of Texas, as a Slave State, and thus threw the weight of their influence against even the utterance of a word of protest against this giant crime! The Representative of Boston in Congress, the Hon. Robert C. WINTHROP, has on more than one occasion announced it as his political creed, that “the Union, however bounded,” is to be maintained and defended! It is but too evident that an influential, if not a numerous, portion of the Whig party in Massachusetts, are tired of being under the ban of the Slaveholding Whigs, and are desirous of gaining, by any submissions, a full restoration to the bosom of the Whig Church Universal. The penance that is to wash out the sins of Massachusetts against Slavery has not yet been fully pronounced. Perhaps nothing more than unquestioning submission in time to come to all its behests will be required. Whether the mass of the people are prepared to walk through this valley of Humiliation, or not, for such an object, remains to be seen.
Remonstrances with nearly fifty thousand signatures, obtained within a very short time, were forwarded to Congress, as the result of this agitation That it was of no avail, we know. That it would be of any avail was probably not expected by many who partook in the movement. Their guid
ing principle seemed to be a conscientious desire to do what they could, even though they believed their labors would be fruitless, to save the nation from this guilt and shame; and, at any rate, to free their own souls from any participation in it. The movement, notwithstanding its ill success, cannot be justly regarded as a failure, since it was the means of awaking, to a considerable extent, the attention of the people to their own implication in the crime of Slaveholding, both in its effects on the rights of its immediate victims, and on their own; and also of bringing together, in a combined effort, many individuals of widely differing views on other subjects, but who were of one mind as to the fatal nature of Slavery.
There are many in the land, whose eyes, sealed in a wilful or in a judicial blindness, refused to see this danger, till it was too late; and could hardly be persuaded that the bolt impended, until it had fallen upon their heads. To whomsoever else this event was unexpected, the intelligent Abolitionists of the country were well prepared for it. At every one of our successive gatherings, since the project of Annexation was first broached, has our warning voice been uplifted, entreating the people not to be deceived in this behalf. At times when universal security seemed to pervade the country, we have proclaimed that the scheme would never be abandoned, and that, unless an opposition of unexampled unanimity and vigor were presented to it by the North, it would be successful. We had watched too long, and knew too well, the wily and desperate nature of the Slave interest, to be deceived by any apparent relaxation of its wishes, or its efforts, to accomplish a measure vital to its own existence. We cannot but feel that, as far as our influence has extended, and our voice reached, we have been faithful in this matter to our country, to ourselves, and to our posterity.
But the deed is done. The catastrophe is over. The destruction has overtaken us. A revolution has taken place of mightier moment than that which severed the tie binding the