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[220] by the repudiation of the Missouri Compromise in the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska bill.1

In this protracted and angry controversy respecting the surrender of Fugitive Slaves, the advocates of such surrender uniformly treated it as a high moral and political duty. Mr. Webster,2 in announcing his determination to vote for Mr. Mason's Fugitive Slave bill, used this strong language:

I desire to call the attention of all sober-minded men at the North, of all conscientious men, of all men who are not carried away by some fanatical idea, or some false impression, to their constitutional obligations. I put it to all the sober and sound minds at the North as a question of morals and a question of conscience, etc., etc.

And on this theme he discoursed every variation, in speeches, in letters, and in personal intercourse, during the brief remainder of his life. And every “conservative” pulpit and rostrum resounded with feebler and duller imitations, in drift and substance, of this language — the purport of all being that whoever failed to do “with alacrity,” 3 whatever he could toward securing the return of fugitive slaves to their masters, was guilty of a flagrant breach, not only of constitutional, but of moral obligation.

1 On the 2d of June, 1854--the repudiation of the Missouri compact having recently been consummated in the passage and Presidential approval of the Kansas-Nebraska bill — Anthony Burns having been adjudged a fugitive at Boston, President Pierce ordered the U. S. cutter Morris to take him from that city to life-long bondage in Virginia. The following spirited stanzas thereupon appeared (June 13th) in The New York Tribune:

Hail to the Stars and Stripes.

hail to the Stars and Stripes!
     The boastful flag all hail!
The tyrant trembles now,
     And at the sight grows pale;
The Old World groans in pain,
     And turns her eye to see,
Beyond the Western Main,
     The emblem of the Free.

Hail to the Stars and Stripes!
     Hope beams in every ray!
And, shining through the bars
     Of gloom, points out the way:
The Old World sees the light
     That shall her cells illume;
And, shrinking back to night,
     Oppression reads her doom.

Hail to the Stars and Stripes!
     They float in every sea;
The crystal waves speed on
     The emblem of the Free!
Beneath the azure sky
     Of soft Italia's clime,
Or where Auroras die
     In solitude sublime.

All hail the flaunting Lie!
     The Stars grow pale and dim--
The Stripes are bloody scars,
     A lie the flaunting hymn!
It shields the pirate's deck,
     It binds a man in chains;
It yokes the captive's neck,
     And wipes the bloody stains.

Tear down the flaunting Lie!
     Half-mast the starry flag!
Insult no sunny sky
     With Hate's polluted rag!
Destroy it, ye who can!
     Deep sink it in the waves!
It bears a fellow-man
     To groan with fellow-slaves.

Awake the burning scorn!
     The vengeance long and deep,
That, till a better morn,
     Shall neither tire nor sleep!
Swear once again the vow,
     O, freeman I dare to do!
God's will is ever now!
     May His thy will renew!

Enfurl the boasted Lie!
     Till Freedom lives again,
To reign once more in truth
     Among untrammeled men!
Roll up the starry sheen--
     Conceal its bloody stains;
For in its folds are seen
     The stamp of rusting chains.

Be bold, ye heroes all!
     Spurn, spurn the flaunting Lie,
Till Peace, and Truth, and Love
     Shall fill the bending sky;
Then, floating in the air,
     O'er hill, and dale, and sea,
‘T will stand forever fair,
     The emblem of the Free!

2 In his 7th of March speech.

3 Ibid.

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