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[36]

The philosophy which prevails on the question before us has originated two schools — the abolitionist and the anti-slavery. The abolitionist maintain that the abstract principle of the system is wrong, and that therefore the system itself is wrong under all circumstances. The anti-slavery school agree with the abolitionist that the principle is wrong, but divide among themselves as to the conclusion they draw. Some hold that the institution itself is not wrong under all circumstances, and that therefore slaves may be held under it in given cases without guilt; and others, that the institution is wrong in itself, and should be abolished by the State, but that the holding of slaves under this wrong system is not an act in itself wrong in all cases.

A strict analysis of the subject will show that here is a strange medley of principles and conclusions. I shall be found to agree with each, and to disagree with each. I disagree with both on the abstract principle. Hence, I disagree with the abolitionists on the whole proposition. But I agree with the abolitionists that if the abstract principle be wrong, the institution is wrong in all cases. I say with them that all who grant the antecedent of this conditional are bound to admit the consequent. Hence I disagree with the antislavery school in admitting that the principle is

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