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[25] that this opinion and feeling embodies a great abstract truth — a fundamental, vital, immutable principle, which never did and never can fail to hold practical error in check, because it takes hold of the conscience of an honest people — and whose tendency, therefore, is always to an ultimate practical triumph, with all those who honestly receive it? We dare not affirm this.

It is not mere belief, nor is it mere honesty, that produces results in practice; but it is the reception of the truth in an honest heart, which can never fail to result in practice. Now in this case the people are honest, and the people believe; and if it be essential truth which they thus believe, then, we say, the fact that in all those States of this republic in which climate and soil are adapted to African labor — that precisely there the institution of domestic slavery should be rooted in the practice of a large portion of this believing and honest people, and that it should strike its roots into the federal constitution, and penetrate deeper and deeper every year into the legislation of the whole country, and thus implicate more and more the whole mass of this believing people in the sin of it, is a phenomenon, for which the postulate, that it is the truth they believe, does not account — nor can it be made to account.

A false principle may be believed to be the truth.

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