planting slavery there.
That is purely of local interest, which nobody should be allowed to say a word about.
Labor is the great source from which nearly all, if not all, human comforts and necessities are drawn.
There is a difference in opinion about the elements of labor in society.
Some men assume that there is a necessary connection between capital and labor, and that connection draws within it the whole of the labor of the community.
They assume that nobody works unless capital excites them to work.
They begin next to consider what is the best way. They say there are but two ways ; one is to hire men and to allure them to labor by their consent; the other is to buy the men and drive them to it, and that is slavery.
Having assumed that, they proceed to discuss the question of whether the laborers themselves are better off in the condition of slaves or of hired laborers, and they usually decide that they are better off in the condition of slaves.
In the first place, I say that the whole thing is a mistake.
That there is a certain relation between capital and labor, I admit.
That it does exist, and rightfully exists, I think is true, That men who are industrious, and sober, and honest in the pursuit of their own interests should after a while accumulate capital, and after that should be allowed to enjoy it in peace, and also if they should choose, when they have accumulated it, to use it to save themselves from actual labor and hire other people to labor for them, is right.
In doing so they do not wrong the man they employ, for they find men who have not of their own laud to work upon, or shops to work in, and who are benefited by working for others, hired laborers, receiving their capital for it. Thus a few men that own capital, hire a few others, and these establish the relation of capital and labor rightfully.
A relation of which I make no complaint.
But I insist that that relation after all does not embrace more than one-eighth of the labor of the country.
[The speaker proceeded to argue that the hired laborer, with his ability to become an employer, must have every precedence over him who labors under the inducement of force.
He continued :] I have taken upon myself in the name of some of you to say, that we expect upon these principles to ultimately beat them.
In order to do so, I think we want and must have a national policy in regard to the institution of slavery, that acknowledges and deals with that institution as being wrong Whoever desires the prevention of the spread of slavery and the nationalization of that institution, yields all, when he yields to any policy that either recognizes slavery as being right, or as being an indifferent thing.
Nothing will make you successful but setting up a policy which shall treat the thing as being wrong.
When I say this, I do not mean to say that this General Government is charged with the duty of redressing or preventing all the wrongs in the world ; but I do think that it is charged with preventing and redressing all wrongs which are wrongs to itself.
This Government is expressly charged with the duty of providing for the general welfare.
We believe that the spreading out and perpetuity of the institution of slavery impairs the general welfare.
We believe-nay, we know, that that is the only thing that has ever threatened the perpetuity of the Union
The only thing which has ever menaced the destruction of the government under which we live, is this very thing.
To repress this thing, we think, is providing for the general welfare.
Our friends in Kentucky
differ from us. We need not make our argument for them, but we who think it is wrong in all its relations, or in some of them at least, must decide as to our own actions, and our own course, upon our own judgment.
I say that we must not interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists, because the Constitution
forbids it, and the general welfare does not require us to do so. We must not withhold an efficient Fugitive Slave law because the Constitution
requires us, as I understand it, not to withhold such a law. But we must prevent the outspreading of the institution, because neither the Constitution
nor general welfare requires us to extend it. We must prevent the revival of the African slave-trade, and the enacting by Congress of a Territorial slave code.
We must prevent