themselves, and filled with dread and apprehension the once quiet and happy homes of many, very many, Southern masters?
Fellow-citizens, although the law may be powerless, yet there is a moral force which can and would arrest this evil.
I appeal to you earnestly — to each one of you individually — by every lawful means in your power, to put an end to the violent and inflammatory discussion of this unhappy subject.
The past, the present, and the future, appeal to you eloquently to be true to your country and to yourselves.
Never before has constitutional liberty assumed so fair a form among men as here with us. Never before, under its influence and protection, has any people been so speedily and happily borne to great prosperity; until now the imagination sinks in the effort to contemplate that glorious future on whose very threshold our feet have stood.
Can it be that madness and fanaticism — can it be that selfishness and sectionalism — are about to destroy this noblest form of government, freighted as it is with the highest hopes of humanity?
Mr. Isaac Hazlehurst
closed the discussion in a far manlier spirit.
Himself a “Conservative,” the “American” candidate for Governor in 1857, he had no palinode to offer for Northern “fanaticism,” and no thought of crouching to Southern treason.
On the contrary, he spoke, with singular and manly directness, as follows:
Fellow-citizens, it is no time for party, because there are no party questions to be discussed.
We are here for the purpose of endeavoring to preserve the Union of these States.
The American Union was made perfect by the people of these States, and by the people of these States it is to be maintained and preserved.
It is not a question of “must be preserved,” but, in the language of Gen. Jackson, “it shall be preserved.”
(Applause.) * * * I say, fellow-citizens, that Pennsylvania has been true to the Constitution and the Union.
She has always been loyal to it. There is no doubt upon that subject.
She has nothing whatever to repent of; and we will maintain these principles as presented by your resolutions.
I care not where the traitors are — I care not where they hide themselves — the first arm that is raised against the Constitution and the Union, I will bring and that I have to their defense — all that I have to secure the enforcement of the laws. ( “Good!”
Of the resolutions in which the spirit of this meeting was embodied, these are the most significant:
Resolved, 4. That the people of Philadelphia hereby pledge themselves to the citizens of the other States that the statute-books of Pennsylvania shall be carefully searched at the approaching session of the Legislature, and that every statute, if any such there be, which, in the slightest degree, invades the constitutional rights of citizens of a sister State, will be at once repealed; and that Pennsylvania, ever loyal to the Union, and liberal in construing her obligations to it, will be faithful always in her obedience to its requirements.
Resolved, 5. That we recognize the obligations of the act of Congress of 1850, commonly known as the Fugitive Slave Law, and submit cheerfully to its faithful enforcement; and that we point with pride and satisfaction to the recent conviction and punishment, in this city of Philadelphia, of those who had broken its provisions by aiding in the attempted rescue of a slave, as proof that Philadelphia is faithful in her obedience to the law; and furthermore, that we recommend to the Legislature of our own State the passage of a law which shall give compensation, in case of the rescue of a captured slave, by the county in which such rescue occurs, precisely as is now done by existing laws in case of destruction of property by violence of mobs.
Resolved, 6. That, as to the question of the recognition of slaves as property, and as to the question of the rights of slaveholders in the territories of the United States, the people of Philadelphia submit themselves obediently and cheerfully to the decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States, whether now made or hereafter to be made; and they pledge themselves faithfully to observe the Constitution in these respects, as the same has been or may be expounded by that august tribunal.
And, further: they recommend that whatever points of doubt exist touching these subjects be, in some amicable and lawful way, forthwith submitted to the consideration of said Court; and that its opinion be accepted as the final and authoritative solution of all doubts as to the meaning of the Constitution on controverted points.
Resolved, 7. That all denunciations of Slavery, as existing in the United States, and of our fellow-citizens who maintain that institution, and who hold slaves under it, are inconsistent with the spirit of brotherhood and kindness which ought to animate all who live under and profess to support the Constitution of the American Union.