That the dangerous consequences of the system of bondage have not as yet been felt does not prove that they never will be. * * * To me, sir, nothing for which I have not the evidence of my senses is more clear than that it. will one day destroy that reverence for liberty which is the vital principle of a republic. While a majority of your citizens are accustomed to rule with the authority of despots within particular limits, while your youth are reared in the habit of thinking that the great rights of human nature are not so sacred but they may with innocence be trampled on, can it be expected that the public mind should glow with that generous ardor in the cause of freedom which alone can save a government like ours from the lurking demon of usurpation? Do you not dread contamination of principle? Have you no alarms for the continuance of that spirit which once conducted us to victory and independence when the talons of power were unclasped for our destruction? Have you no apprehension that when the votaries of freedom sacrifice also at the gloomy altars of slavery, they will at length become apostates from the former? For my own part, I have no hope that the stream of general liberty will flow forever unpolluted through the foul mire of partial bondage, or that they who have been habituated to lord it over others, will not in time be base enough to let others lord it over them. If they resist, it will be the struggle of pride and selfishness, not of principle.The hour so philosophically predicted seventy-two years ago has come. The usurping hand is lifted against the most benignant government the world has ever seen. The usurpation is unresisted, the country is precipitated into war, and popular government overthrown, and a military rule established: the people, it would seem, have cast to the world the historic memories we this day meet to celebrate. Mr. Russell, the correspondent of the London Times, now travelling at the South, treated with every attention, charmed with their courtesy, and evidently inclined to regard their rebel movement with a favorable eye, writes from South Carolina on the 30th April, and makes this sad disclosure: “From all quarters have come to my ears the echoes of the same voice; it may be feigned, but there is no discord in the note, and it sounds in wonderful strength and monotony all over the country. Shades of George III., of North, of Johnson, of all who contended against the great rebellion which tore these colonies from England, can you hear the chorus which rings through the State of Marion, Sumter, and Pinckney, and not clash your ghostly hands in triumph? that voice says, ‘ If we could only get one of the royal race of England to rule over us we should be content.’ ” Let me say next a word of the means by which a conspiracy so contemptible in its origin,
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.