amenable to the laws.
But it is said that the right to hold slaves is a constitutional one, and therefore not to be called in question.
I admit the premise, but deny the conclusion.
proceeded to set forth that Robert Dale Owen
and Frances Wright
had recently landed on our shores from Great Britain
, and had traversed our country, publicly propagating doctrines respecting Divorce which were generally regarded as utterly destructive to the institution of Marriage, yet they were nowhere mobbed nor assaulted for so doing.
“And yet, most surely, the institutions of Slavery are not more interwoven with the structure of our society than those of Marriage.”
See the danger, and the natural and inevitable result, to which the first step here will lead.
To-day, a public meeting declares that you shall not discuss the subject of Slavery in any of its bearings, civil or religious.
Right or wrong, the press must be silent.
To-morrow, another meeting decides that it is against the peace of society that the principles of Popery shall be discussed, and the edict goes forth to muzzle the press.
The next day it is, in a similar manner, declared that not a word must be said against distilleries, dram-shops, or drunkenness: and so on to the end of the chapter.
The truth is, my fellow-citizens, if you give ground a single inch, there is no stopping-place.
I deem it, therefore, my duty to take my stand upon the Constitution.
Here is firm ground — I feel it to be such.
And I do, most respectfully, yet decidedly, declare to you my fixed determination to maintain this ground.
We have slaves, it is true; but I am not one.
I am a citizen of these United States, a citizen of Missouri, free-born; and, having never forfeited the inestimable privileges attached to such a condition, I cannot consent to surrender them.
But, while I maintain them, I hope to do it with all that meekness and humility that become a Christian, and especially a Christian minister.
I am ready, not to fight, but to suffer, and, if need be, to die for them.
Kindred blood to that which flows in my veins flowed freely to water the tree of Christian liberty, planted by the Puritans on the rugged soil of New England.
It flowed as freely on the plains of Lexington, the rights of Bunker Hill, and the fields of Saratoga.
And freely, too, shall mine flow — yea, as freely as if it were so much water — ere I surrender my right to plead the cause of truth and righteousness, before my fellow-citizens, and in the face of all their opposers.
He continued in this strain to review and refute all the positions and doctrines of these resolutions, and, toward the close of his appeal, said:
If in anything I have offended against the laws of my country, or its Constitution, I stand ready to answer.
If I have not, then I call upon those laws and that Constitution, and those who revere them, to protect me.
I do, therefore, as an American citizen, and Christian patriot, and in the name of Liberty, and Law, and Religion, solemnly protest against all these attempts, howsoever or by whomsoever made, to frown down the liberty of the press, and forbid the free expression of opinion.
Under a deep sense of my obligations to my country, the Church, and my God, I declare it to be my fixed purpose to submit to no such dictation.
And I am prepared to abide the consequences. I have appealed to the Constitution and laws of my country; if they fail to protect me, I appeal to God, and with Him I cheerfully rest my cause.
failed for one week to appear, but was issued regularly thereafter.
On the request of its proprietors, Mr. Lovejoy
gave up the establishment to them, intending to leave St. Louis
; but they handed it over in payment of a debt of five hundred dollars, and the new owner immediately presented it to Mr. Lovejoy
, telling him to go on with the paper as before.
He had gone to Alton, Illinois
, expecting to remove it to that city; but, while there, a letter reached him from St. Louis
, urging him to return and remain, which he did.
On the 28th of April, 1836, a quarrel occurred between two sailors, or boatmen, at the steamboat landing